Healthcare needs of older Arab migrants: a systematic review

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Abstract

Aims and objectives

To explore the healthcare needs of older Arab migrants, focussing on Arab-Australians and their socio-cultural characteristics.

Background

Disparities in accessing healthcare services and addressing healthcare needs are evident among ethnic minorities including Arab migrants, particularly, older people. Racial stereotyping can also affect their ability to use these services. Arabs are a populous and diverse group with a long history of global migration. Australia is one of the most multicultural societies in the world, and Arab-Australians constitute an important ethnic minority group.

Design

Systematic review.

Methods

The electronic databases Academic Search Complete (EBSCO), MEDLINE (Ovid), Ageline, ProQuest, CINAHL, PubMed, PsychINFO and Google Scholar were searched from 1990–October 2012. Search terms included health care needs, aged care, ethnic, cultural, linguistics, social, ethnic groups, culturally and linguistically diverse, nonEnglish speaking, ageing, elderly, Arabs, Arabic-speaking and Australia.

Results

Eight articles reviewing the healthcare issues of Australians from Arabic-speaking background were identified using the search strategy. An additional eight articles were identified through hand searching.

Conclusions

Racial stereotyping can alter health-seeking behaviours and healthcare treatment. Increasing the understanding of specific cultural attributes of Arab-Australians will contribute to improving health outcomes.

Relevance to clinical practice

Healthcare providers and policymakers need to adopt more effective ways of communication with Arab-Australians to provide more culturally competent care and achieve better health outcomes.

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