Development of guidelines for recently arrived immigrants and refugees to Canada: Delphi consensus on selecting preventable and treatable conditions.
ABSTRACT: Setting priorities is critical to ensure guidelines are relevant and acceptable to users, and that time, resources and expertise are used cost-effectively in their development. Stakeholder engagement and the use of an explicit procedure for developing recommendations are critical components in this process.We used a modified Delphi consensus process to select 20 high-priority conditions for guideline development. Canadian primary care practitioners who care for immigrants and refugees used criteria that emphasize inequities in health to identify clinical care gaps.Nine infectious diseases were selected, as well as four mental health conditions, three maternal and child health issues, caries and periodontal disease, iron-deficiency anemia, diabetes and vision screening.Immigrant and refugee medicine covers the full spectrum of primary care, and although infectious disease continues to be an important area of concern, we are now seeing mental health and chronic diseases as key considerations for recently arriving immigrants and refugees.
Project description:Purpose:Discrimination has been identified as a major stressor and influence on immigrant health. This study examined the role of perceived discrimination in relation to other factors, in particular, acculturation, in physical and mental health of immigrants and refugees. Methodology/approach:Data for US adults (18+ years) were derived from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Mental and physical health was assessed with SF-12. Acculturation and perceived discrimination were assessed with multidimensional measures. Structural equation models were used to estimate the effects of acculturation, stressful life effects, perceived discrimination, and social support on health among immigrants and refugees. Findings:Among first-generation immigrants, discrimination in health care had a negative association with physical health while discrimination in general had a negative association with mental health. Social support had positive associations with physical and mental health and mediated the association of discrimination to health. There were no significant associations between discrimination and health among refugees, but the direction and magnitude of associations were similar to those for first-generation immigrants. Implications:Efforts aiming at reducing discrimination and enhancing integration/social support for immigrants are likely to help with maintaining and protecting immigrants' health and well-being. Further research using larger samples of refugees and testing moderating effects of key social/psychosocial variables on immigrant health outcomes is warranted. Originality/value:This study used multidimensional measures of health, perceived discrimination, and acculturation to examine the pathways between key social/psychosocial factors in health of immigrants and refugees at the national level. This study included possibly the largest national sample of refugees.
Project description:Canada welcomed 33?723 Syrian refugees between November 2015 and November 2016. This paper reports the results of a rapid assessment of health care needs and use of health care services among newly arrived Syrian refugees in Toronto.A cross-sectional study was conducted in Toronto among Syrian refugees aged 18 years or more who had been in Canada for 12 months or less. Participants were recruited initially through distribution of flyers in hotels and through direct referrals and communication with community and settlement agency partners, and then through snowball sampling. We collected sociodemographic information and data on self-perceived physical health and mental health, unmet health care needs and use of health care services.A total of 400 Syrian refugees (221 women [55.2%] and 179 men [44.8%]) were enrolled. Of the 400, 209 (52.2%) were privately sponsored refugees, 177 (44.2%) were government-assisted refugees, and 12 (3.0%) were refugees under the Blended Visa Office-Referred Program. They reported high levels of self-perceived physical and mental health. Over 90% of the sample saw a doctor in their first year in Canada, and 79.8% had a family doctor they saw regularly. However, almost half (49.0%) of the respondents reported unmet health care needs, with the 3 most common reasons reported being long wait times, costs associated with services and lack of time to seek health care services.Many factors may explain our respondents' high levels of self-perceived physical and mental health during the first year of resettlement, including initial resettlement support and eligibility for health care under the Interim Federal Health Program. However, newly arrived Syrian refugees report unmet health care needs, which necessitates more comprehensive care and management beyond the initial resettlement support.
Project description:To describe trends in mental health service use of youth by immigration status and characteristics.Population-based longitudinal cohort study from 1996 to 2012 using linked health and administrative datasets.Ontario, Canada.Youth 10-24 years, living in Ontario, Canada.The main exposure was immigration status (recent immigrants vs long-term residents). Secondary exposures were region of origin and refugee status.Mental health hospitalisations, emergency department (ED) visits and outpatient visits within consecutive 3-year time periods. Poisson regression models estimated rate ratios (RR).Over 2.5?million person years per period were included. Rates of recent immigrant mental health service utilisation were at least 40% lower than long-term residents (p<0.0001).Mental health hospitalisation and ED visit rates increased in long-term residents (hospitalisations, RR 1.09 (95% CI 1.08 to 1.09); ED visits, RR 1.15 (1.14 to 1.15)) and recent immigrants (hospitalisations RR 1.05 (1.03 to 1.07); ED visits, RR 1.08 (1.05 to 1.11)). Mental health outpatient visit rates increased in long-term residents (RR 1.03 (1.03 to 1.03)) but declined in recent immigrant (RR 0.94 (0.93 to 0.95)). Comparable divergent trends in acute care and outpatient service use were observed among refugees and across most regions of origin. Recent immigrant acute care use was driven by longer-term refugees (hospitalisations RR 1.12 (1.03 to 1.21); ED visits RR 1.11 (1.02 to 1.20)).Mental health service utilisation was lower among recent immigrants than long-term residents. While acute care use is increasing at a faster rate among long-term residents than recent immigrants, the decrease in outpatient mental health visits in immigrants highlights a potential emerging disparity in access to preventative care.
Project description:Background:Providing adequate healthcare to newly arrived refugees is considered one of the significant challenges for the German healthcare system. These refugees can be classified mainly into two groups: asylum seekers (who have applied for asylum after arrival in Germany and are waiting for the refugee-status decision) and resettlement refugees (who have already been granted asylum status before arriving in Germany). Whereas earlier studies have explored the health status of asylum seekers especially in terms of mental and behavioural disorders and infectious diseases without distinguishing between these two groups, our study aims to evaluate possible relationships of asylum status and medical needs of these two groups with a special focus on mental and behavioural disorders and infectious diseases. Methods:In this retrospective observational study, collected data on all asylum-seeker and resettlement-refugee patients (N = 2252) of a German reception centre (August 2017 to August 2018) is analysed by absolute and relative frequencies and medians. Patient data, collected by chart review, include age, gender, country of origin, asylum status, and diagnoses (ICD-10). To describe the relationship between sociodemographic factors (including asylum status) and diagnoses, we used tests of significance and bivariate correlations with Spearman correlation coefficients. All collected data are pseudonymised. Results:Of all 2252 patients, 43% were resettlement refugees. In almost all ICD-10 categories, asylum seekers received significantly more diagnoses than resettlement refugees. According to our data, asylum seekers presented with mental and behavioural disorders nine times more often (9%) than resettlement refugees (1%). In the case of infectious diseases, the results are mixed: asylum seekers were twice as frequently (11%) diagnosed with certain infectious and parasitic diseases than resettlement refugees (5%), but resettlement refugees were treated twice as often (22% of the asylum seekers and 41% of the resettlement refugees) for diseases of the respiratory system, of which 84% were acute respiratory infections (in both groups). Conclusion:This study indicates that patients with unregulated migration more frequently present symptoms of psychiatric diseases and somatoform symptoms than resettlement refugees. A health policy approach within migration policy should aim to enable persecuted persons to migrate under regulated and safe conditions. Trial registration:German Clinical Trials Register: DRKS00013076, retrospectively registered on 29.09.2017.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants experience a number of risk factors for mental health problems. However, in comparison to the host population, these populations are less likely to use mental health services. Digital mental health approaches have been shown to be effective in improving well-being for the general population. Thus, they may provide an effective and culturally appropriate strategy to bridge the treatment gap for these populations vulnerable to mental health risks. OBJECTIVE:This paper aims to provide the background and rationale for conducting a scoping review on digital mental health resources for asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants. It also provides an outline of the methods and analyses, which will be used to answer the following questions. What are the available digital mental health resources for asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants? Are they effective, feasible, appropriate, and accepted by the population? What are the knowledge gaps in the field? METHODS:The scoping review methodology will follow 5 phases: identifying the research question; identifying relevant studies; study selection; charting the data; and collating, summarizing, and reporting the results. Searches will be conducted in the following databases: EBSCOhost databases (CINAHL Plus with Full Text, MEDLINE with Full Text, APA PsycArticles, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, and APA PsycInfo), PubMed, and Scopus. Additionally, OpenGrey, Mednar, and Eldis will be searched for gray literature. All primary studies and gray literature in English concerning the use of information and communication technology to deliver services addressing mental health issues for asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants will be included. RESULTS:This scoping review will provide an overview of the available digital mental health resources for asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants and describe the implementation outcomes of feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness of such approaches for those populations. Potential gaps in the field will also be identified. CONCLUSIONS:As of February 2020, there were no scoping reviews, which assessed the effectiveness, feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness of the available digital mental health resources for asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants. This review will provide an extensive coverage on a promising and innovative intervention for such populations. It will give insight into the range of approaches, their effectiveness, and progress in their implementation. It will also provide valuable information for health practitioners, policy makers, and researchers working with the population. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID):PRR1-10.2196/19031.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Refugees are a particularly vulnerable group in relation to the development of mental illness and many may have been subjected to torture or other traumatic experiences. General practitioners are gatekeepers for access to several parts of the psychiatric system and knowledge of their patients' refugee background is crucial to secure adequate care. The aim of this study is to investigate how general practitioners experience providing care to refugees with mental health problems. METHODS: The study was conducted as part of an EU project on European Best Practices in Access, Quality and Appropriateness of Health Services for Immigrants in Europe (EUGATE). Semi-structured interviews were carried out with nine general practitioners in the vicinity of Copenhagen purposively selected from areas with a high proportion of immigrants. The analysis of the interviews is inspired by qualitative content analysis. RESULTS: One of the main themes identified in the analysis is communication. This includes the use of professional interpreters and that communication entails more than sharing a common language. Quality of care is another theme that emerges and includes awareness of possible trauma history, limited possibilities for refugees to participate in certain treatments due to language barriers and feelings of hopelessness in the general practitioners. The general practitioners may also choose different referral pathways for refugees and they report that their patients lack understanding regarding the differences between psychological problems and physical symptoms. CONCLUSION: General practitioners experience that providing care to refugees differs from providing care for patients from the majority population. The different strategies employed by the general practitioners in the health care treatment of refugees may be the result of the great diversity in the organisation of general practice in Denmark and the lack of a national strategy in the health care management of refugees. The findings from this study suggest that the development of conversational models for general practitioners including points to be aware of in the treatment of refugee patients may serve as a support in the management of refugee patients in primary care.
Project description:Recognizing and appropriately treating mental health problems among new immigrants and refugees in primary care poses a challenge because of differences in language and culture and because of specific stressors associated with migration and resettlement. We aimed to identify risk factors and strategies in the approach to mental health assessment and to prevention and treatment of common mental health problems for immigrants in primary care.We searched and compiled literature on prevalence and risk factors for common mental health problems related to migration, the effect of cultural influences on health and illness, and clinical strategies to improve mental health care for immigrants and refugees. Publications were selected on the basis of relevance, use of recent data and quality in consultation with experts in immigrant and refugee mental health.The migration trajectory can be divided into three components: premigration, migration and postmigration resettlement. Each phase is associated with specific risks and exposures. The prevalence of specific types of mental health problems is influenced by the nature of the migration experience, in terms of adversity experienced before, during and after resettlement. Specific challenges in migrant mental health include communication difficulties because of language and cultural differences; the effect of cultural shaping of symptoms and illness behaviour on diagnosis, coping and treatment; differences in family structure and process affecting adaptation, acculturation and intergenerational conflict; and aspects of acceptance by the receiving society that affect employment, social status and integration. These issues can be addressed through specific inquiry, the use of trained interpreters and culture brokers, meetings with families, and consultation with community organizations.Systematic inquiry into patients' migration trajectory and subsequent follow-up on culturally appropriate indicators of social, vocational and family functioning over time will allow clinicians to recognize problems in adaptation and undertake mental health promotion, disease prevention or treatment interventions in a timely way.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Over the past decade, the number of refugees arriving in the United States (U.S.) has increased dramatically. Refugees arrive with unmet health needs and may face barriers when seeking care. However, little is known about how refugees perceive and access care when acutely ill. The goal of this study was to understand barriers to access of acute care by newly arrived refugees, and identify potential improvements from refugees and resettlement agencies. METHODS:This was an in-depth, qualitative interview study of refugees and employees from refugee resettlement and post-resettlement agencies in a city in the Northeast U.S. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and coded independently by two investigators. Interviews were conducted until thematic saturation was reached. We analyzed transcripts using a modified grounded theory approach. RESULTS:Interviews were completed with 16 refugees and 12 employees from refugee resettlement/post-resettlement agencies. Participants reported several barriers to accessing acute care including challenges understanding the U.S. healthcare system, difficulty scheduling timely outpatient acute care visits, significant language barriers in all acute care settings, and confusion over the intricacies of health insurance. The novelty and complexity of the U.S. healthcare system drives refugees to resettlement agencies for assistance. Resettlement agency employees express concern with directing refugees to appropriate levels of care and report challenges obtaining timely access to sick visits. While receiving emergency department (ED) care, refugees experience communication barriers due to limitations in consistent interpretation services. CONCLUSION:Refugees face multiple barriers when accessing acute care. Interventions in the ED, outpatient settings, and in resettlement agencies, have the potential to reduce barriers to care. Examples could include interpretation services that allow for clinic phone scheduling and easier access to interpreter services within the ED. Additionally, extending the Refugee Medical Assistance program may limit gaps in insurance coverage and avoid insurance-related barriers to seeking care.
Project description:Psychological distress and lack of family support may explain the mental health problems that are consistently found in young unaccompanied refugees in Western countries. Given the strong relationship between poor mental health and alcohol misuse, this study investigated hospital admissions due to alcohol related disorders among accompanied and unaccompanied young refugees who settled in Sweden as teenagers.The dataset used in this study was derived from a combination of different registers. Cox regression models were used to estimate the risks of hospital care due to alcohol related disorders in 15,834 accompanied and 4376 unaccompanied young refugees (2005-2012), aged 13 to 19 years old when settling in Sweden and 19 to 32 years old in December 2004. These young refugees were divided into regions with largely similar attitudes toward alcohol: the former Yugoslavian republics, Somalia, and the Middle East. The findings were compared with one million peers in the native Swedish population.Compared to native Swedes, hospital admissions due to alcohol related disorders were less common in young refugees, with a hazard ratio (HR) of 0.65 and 95% confidence interval (CI) between 0.56 and 0.77. These risks were particularly lower among young female refugees. However, there were some differences across the refugee population. For example, the risks were higher in unaccompanied (male) refugees than accompanied ones (HR = 1.49, 95% CI = 1.00-2.19), also when adjusted for age, domicile and income. While the risks were lower in young refugees from Former Yugoslavia and the Middle East relative to native Swedes, independent of their length of residence in Sweden, refugees from Somalia who had lived in Sweden for more than ten years showed increased risks (HR = 2.54, 95% CI = 1.71-3.76), after adjustments of age and domicile. These risks decreased considerably when income was adjusted for.Young refugees have lower risks of alcohol disorders compared with native Swedes. The risks were higher in unaccompanied young (male) refugees compared to the accompanied ones. Moreover, Somalian refugees who had lived in Sweden for more than ten years seems to be particularly vulnerable to alcohol related disorders.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Owing to communication challenges and a lack of knowledge about the health care system, refugees may be at risk of having limited health literacy, meaning that they will have problems in achieving, understanding, appraising and using health information or navigating in the health care system. The aim of this study was to explore experiences and needs concerning health related information for newly arrived refugees in Sweden. METHODS:A qualitative design with a focus group methodology was used. The qualitative content analysis was based on seven focus group discussions, including 28 Arabic and Somali speaking refugees. RESULTS:Four categories emerged. 'Concrete instructions and explanations' includes appreciation of knowledge about how to act when facing health problems. 'Contextual knowledge' comprises experienced needs of information about the health care system, about specific health risks and about rights in health issues. 'A variation of sources' describes suggestions as to where and how information should be given. 'Enabling communication' includes the wish for more awareness among professionals from a language and cultural point of view. CONCLUSION:Concrete instructions and explanations are experienced as valuable and applicable. Additional information about health issues and the health care system is needed. Information concerning health should be spread by a variety of sources. Health literate health organizations are needed to meet the health challenges of refugees, including professionals that emphasize health literacy.