Predictors of Asylum Seekers' Health Care Utilization in the Early Phase of Resettlement.
ABSTRACT: Background:Asylum seekers display high prevalence rates of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and panic disorder due to pre-, peri-, and post-migration stressors. In contrast to the high mental health burden, health care utilization among asylum seekers in the early phase of resettlement is low. However, the early stages after migration are a particularly vulnerable phase in which psychosocial support measures are needed to prevent mental disorders from becoming chronic. Objective:To identify predictors of asylum seekers' health care utilization in the early stages of resettlement. Methods:Using hierarchical logistic regression analysis, the variance explanation of the (1) general utilization of health care services as well as the individual utilization of (2) outpatient psychiatrists, (3) counselling centers, and (4) general practitioners was analyzed in n = 65 asylum seekers. A structured interview on health care utilization took place between three to five months after assessment of possible predictors. We defined the following three groups of predictors a) the sociodemographic variables gender, age, number of children, religion, language proficiency, b) the psychological variables sense of coherence and emotion regulation as well as c) the asylum seekers' psychiatric diagnoses. Results:Individual sociodemographic factors, such as gender, age, and number of children as well as the emotion regulation strategy of expressive suppression and sense of coherence were shown to be predictive for the utilization of health care services among asylum seekers. Conclusions:Low-threshold, culture-sensitive treatment offers for asylum seekers should be established in the early phase after migration. General practitioners should be a central hub for further referrals to disorder-specific treatments.
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 are a vulnerable group with special needs in health care due to their migration history and pre-, peri- and postmigratory social determinants of health. However, in Germany access to health care is restricted for asylum seekers by law and administrative regulations. METHODS:Using claims data generated in the billing process of health care services provided to asylum seekers, we explore their utilization of health care services in the outpatient sector. We describe the utilization of outpatient specialties, prevalences of diagnoses, prescribed drugs and other health care services, as well as total costs of health care provision. RESULTS:The estimated prevalence for visiting an ambulatory physician at least once per year was 67.5% [95%-Confidence-Interval (CI): 65.1-69.9%], with a notably higher prevalence for women than men. The diagnoses with the highest one-year prevalence were "Acute upper respiratory infections" (16.1% [14.5-18.0%]), "Abdominal and pelvic pain" (15.6% [13.9-17.4%]) and "Dorsalgia" (13.8% [12.2-15.5%]). A total of 21% of all prescriptions were for common pain killers. Women received more diagnoses across most diagnosis groups and prescribed drugs from all types than men. Less than half (45.3%) of all health care costs were generated in the outpatient sector. CONCLUSION:The analysis of claims data held in a municipal social services office is a novel approach to gain better insight into asylum seekers' utilization of health services on an individual level. Compared to regularly insured patients, four characteristics in health care utilization by asylum seekers were identified: low utilization of ambulatory physicians; a gender gap in almost all services, with higher utilization by women; frequent prescription of pain killers; and a low proportion of overall health care costs generated in the outpatient sector. Further research is needed to describe structural and individual factors producing these anomalies.
Project description:During the current period of immigration to Western Europe, national healthcare systems are confronted with high numbers of asylum seekers with largely unknown health status. To improve care taking strategies, we assessed healthcare utilization in a large, representative cohort of newly arriving migrants consisting of <i>n</i> = 1533 residents of a reception center in Northern Germany in 2015. Most asylum seekers were young, male adults, and the majority came from the Eastern Mediterranean region. Overall, we observed a frequency of 0.03 visits to the onsite primary healthcare ward per asylum seeker and day of camp residence (IQR 0.0?0.07, median duration of residence 38.0 days, IQR 30.0?54.25). Female asylum seekers showed higher healthcare utilization rates than their male counterparts, and healthcare utilization was particularly low in asylum seekers in their second decade of life. Furthermore, a significant correlation between time after camp entrance and healthcare utilization behavior occurred: During the first week of camp residence, 37.1 visits/100 asylum seekers were observed, opposed to only 9.5 visits/100 asylum seekers during the sixth week of camp residence. This first data on healthcare utilization in a large, representative asylum seeker cohort entering Western Europe during the current crisis shows that primary care is most needed in the first period directly after arrival. Our dataset may help to raise awareness for refugee and migrant healthcare needs and to adapt care taking strategies accordingly.
Project description:<b>Background:</b>In recent years there has been a progressive rise in the number of asylum seekers and refugees displaced from their country of origin, with significant social, economic, public health and mental health implications. The aim of this study is to (1) describe the level of psychological distress and frequency of psychiatric disorders in a sample of male asylum seekers and refugees across different ethnic groups resettled in Italy; (2) establish whether the number of traumatic events experienced before, during and after the migration process is associated with level of psychological distress and depressive symptoms.<br><br><b>Methods:</b>In two large Italian catchment areas, over a period of 1 year a consecutive series of male asylum seekers and refugees, aged 18 or above and included in the Italian protection system, were screened for psychological distress and psychiatric disorders using validated questionnaires.<br><br><b>Results:</b>During the study period, 252 male asylum seekers or refugees were recruited. More than one-third of the participants (34.5%) showed clinically relevant psychological distress, and one-fourth (22.2%), met the criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis, mainly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depressive disorders. The number of traumatic events turned out to be a risk factor for both clinically relevant psychological distress and depressive disorders. Receiving good social support emerged as a protective factor, while migrants with unclear status were at higher risk of psychological distress than those holding or awaiting a permission.<br><br><b>Discussion:</b>In an unselected sample of male asylum seekers and refugees, after around 1 year of resettlement in Italy, the frequency of psychological distress and psychiatric disorders was substantial and clinically relevant. The association between traumatic events, especially post-migration problems, and mental health conditions suggests the need of developing services to assist refugees and asylum seekers to address the multi-faceted problems they experience, such as social support in host country, legal problems concerning permit status and asylum procedure, and family reunification, as well as addressing trauma and mental health issues.
Project description:BACKGROUND:LGBTIQ asylum-seekers face multiple health risks. Yet, little is known about their healthcare needs. In 2016, Berlin opened the only major shelter for LGBTIQ asylum-seekers in Germany. This preliminary study describes health and healthcare utilization by asylum-seekers living in Berlin's LGBTIQ shelter. To identify particular healthcare needs, we compared our results to asylum-seekers from other shelters. METHODS:We surveyed residents of the LGBTIQ shelter and 21 randomly selected shelters in Berlin, using a validated questionnaire in nine languages (n = 309 respondents, including 32 respondents from the LGBTIQ shelter). Bivariate tests and generalized linear mixed models were applied to examine differences in health and healthcare utilization between the two groups. RESULTS:Residents of the LGBTIQ shelter show high rates of chronic and mental illness. They use ambulatory and mental health services more frequently than asylum-seekers from other shelters, including a significantly higher chance of obtaining psychotherapy/psychiatric care in case of need. Emergency room utilization is also higher in the LGBTIQ group. CONCLUSIONS:Asylum-seekers from the LGBTIQ shelter face high chronic and mental health burdens. Tailored services in the LGBTIQ shelter help obtain adequate healthcare; they should be scaled up to maximize their potential. Yet, unmet needs remain and warrant further research.
Project description:In the wake of the European refugee crisis, Germany has received over a million new applications for asylum in the last two years. The health care system is struggling to provide asylum-seekers with access to essential medical services and facilitate their longer-term integration. In this article, we report on the morbidity, utilization and costs of care for a sample of asylum-seekers as compared to a matched group of regularly insured. Using administrative data, we found that asylum-seekers had more hospital and emergency department admissions, including more admissions that could be avoided through good outpatient care or prevention. Their average expenditures were 10 percent higher than for the regularly insured, mostly because of higher hospital expenditures, although there was substantial variation in expenditures by country of origin. Facilitating access to the health care system, especially outpatient and mental health care, could improve asylum-seekers health status and integration, possibly at lower costs.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Norway, like other European countries, has a growing refugee population. Upon arrival to Norway, refugees and asylum seekers need to learn about Norwegian society and social services such as healthcare. Despite various programs and assistance, they face numerous challenges using the healthcare system. Understanding the healthcare experiences of Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers may improve how services such as informational sessions and delivery of medical care are provided. This qualitative study seeks to describe the health-related experiences of Ethiopians who have sought asylum in Norway and shed light on potential barriers to care. METHODS:Individual interviews were conducted with ten Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers in Norway. Thematic analysis was used to understand the broader context of refugee resettlement and how this experience influences participants' health experiences and health seeking behaviors. RESULTS:We identified three main themes that played a role in participants' health and healthcare experiences. Participants described how 'living in limbo' during their application for residency took a mental toll, the difficulties they had 'using the healthcare system', and the role 'interpersonal factors' had on their experiences. While applying for asylum, participants felt consumed by the process and were affected by the lack of structure in their lives, the conditions in the reception center, and perceived inadequate healthcare. Participants perceived a change in access to services before and after they had been granted residency. Participants learned about the healthcare system both through official information sessions and social networks. Doctor-patient communication and interpersonal factors such as a sense of feeling valued, language, and discrimination had a large impact on perceived quality of care. CONCLUSIONS:Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers face numerous challenges accessing, using, and interacting with Norway's healthcare system. Contextualizing these challenges within the asylum seeking process may help policy makers better understand, and therefore address, these challenges. Interventions offered at reception centers and in health worker trainings may improve healthcare experiences for this and similar populations.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To thematically synthesise primary qualitative studies that explore challenges and facilitators for health professionals providing primary healthcare for refugees and asylum seekers in high-income countries. DESIGN:Systematic review and qualitative thematic synthesis. METHODS:Searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL and Web of Science. Search terms were combined for qualitative research, primary healthcare professionals, refugees and asylum seekers, and were supplemented by searches of reference lists and citations. Study selection was conducted by two researchers using prespecified selection criteria. Data extraction and quality assessment using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool was conducted by the first author. A thematic synthesis was undertaken to develop descriptive themes and analytical constructs. RESULTS:Twenty-six articles reporting on 21 studies and involving 357 participants were included. Eleven descriptive themes were interpreted, embedded within three analytical constructs: healthcare encounter (trusting relationship, communication, cultural understanding, health and social conditions, time); healthcare system (training and guidance, professional support, connecting with other services, organisation, resources and capacity); asylum and resettlement. Challenges and facilitators were described within these themes. CONCLUSIONS:A range of challenges and facilitators have been identified for health professionals providing primary healthcare for refugees and asylum seekers that are experienced in the dimensions of the healthcare encounter, the healthcare system and wider asylum and resettlement situation. Comprehensive understanding of these challenges and facilitators is important to shape policy, improve the quality of services and provide more equitable health services for this vulnerable group.
Project description:<b>Background</b>: Epidemiological studies have reported high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among asylum seekers from Sub-Saharan Africa. In order to provide appropriate and culturally sensitive mental health care for this group, further knowledge about treatment preferences might be necessary. <b>Objective</b>: We aimed to provide insights into help-seeking intentions and lay beliefs about cures for PTSD held by asylum seekers from Sub-Saharan Africa living in Germany. <b>Methods</b>: To address this objective, we used a quantitative and qualitative methodological triangulation strategy based on a vignette describing symptoms of PTSD. In the quantitative part of the study, asylum seekers (n = 119), predominantly from Eritrea (n = 41), Somalia (n = 36), and Cameroon (n = 25), and a German comparison sample without a migration background (n = 120) completed the General Help-Seeking Questionnaire (GHSQ). In the qualitative part, asylum seekers (n = 26) reviewed the results of the questionnaire survey within eight focus group discussions sampled from groups of the three main countries of origin. <b>Results</b>: Asylum seekers showed a high intention to seek religious, medical, and psychological treatment for symptoms of PTSD. However, asylum seekers indicated a higher preference to seek help from religious authorities and general practitioners, as well as a lower preference to enlist psychological and traditional help sources than Germans without a migration background. Furthermore, asylum seekers addressed structural and cultural barriers to seeking medical and psychological treatment. <b>Conclusion</b>: To facilitate access to local health care systems for asylum seekers and refugees, it might be crucial to develop public health campaigns in collaboration with religious communities. When treating asylum seekers and refugees from Sub-Saharan Africa, practitioners should explore different religious and cultural frameworks for healing and recovery in order to signal understanding and acceptance of varying cultural contexts.
Project description:This article contains data concerning the movement of extra-EU asylum seekers in Europe. Data used in this paper were collected from the Eurostat database and the UNHCR database. The data consist of some socio-economic features related to 30 European countries where extra-EU asylum seekers have applied for protection. All variables were transformed into their natural logs. The degree of statistical correlation is evaluated from Pearson?s coefficient, using the 0.05 level of significance. Regression analysis is conducted to identify some socio-economic predictors of countries attracting asylum migration. Six models are presented, where 'first time asylum applicants' in 2015 (1,324,215 individuals) in 30 European countries were regressed on 2014 predictors. The multilinear regression model was tested by using data on asylum seekers in 2014, regressed on the same predictors referred to 2013. The data here shared provide a resource for researchers working in the topical field of migration.