Scand J Caring Sci; 2009; 23; 290–297
Immigrant patients' experiences and reflections pertaining to the consultation: a study on patients from Chile, Iran and Turkey in primary health care in Stockholm, Sweden
Our knowledge of the immigrant patient's experiences and reflections regarding consultations in primary health care where interpreters are used is limited. Thus, the primary aim was to explore these experiences and reflections. The second aim was to study whether demographic and migration-related factors are associated with the patient's satisfaction with the consultation and feeling of consolation given by the general practitioner (GP). The third aim was to analyse whether these feelings are related to the time from the booking to the consultation, to self-reported health, symptoms and the patient's experiences. A questionnaire was distributed to 78 consecutive immigrant patients from Chile, Iran and Turkey at 12 primary healthcare centres around Stockholm. The respondents were asked about their background and health status, while open-ended questions focused on their experiences and comments regarding the consultation and cross-cultural communication in general. Ethical approval was obtained. The respondents consisted of 52 patients, 16 from Chile, nine from Iran and 27 from Turkey. Most of the answers concerned communication problems because of language and cultural differences between the GP and the patient and the GP's ability to listen. Therefore, the importance of having a competent interpreter for a satisfactory consultation was stressed. Many of the respondents also felt that the GP's ability to listen to them and understand them is crucial in the consultation. Background facts, including demographic and migration-related factors, health status and factors related to the consultation, did not seem to be associated with the patient's satisfaction and the feeling of consolation. One limitation is that the sample is small and not equally distributed. The use of authorized interpreters during the consultation is essential. The consultation must be based on a patient-centred strategy and adjusted to the patient's educational level. Cultural competence is needed when meeting immigrant patients.