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Access to Health Care and Level of Health-Related Quality of Life of Elderly Chinese Immigrants in the Pacific Northwest

TitleAccess to Health Care and Level of Health-Related Quality of Life of Elderly Chinese Immigrants in the Pacific Northwest
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsChen, M-R
Number of Pages161 p
UniversityUniversity of Washington
ISBN Number978-1-124-48284-2
KeywordsAged, Aging, Chinese -- Psychosocial Factors -- In Old Age, Content Analysis, Exploratory Research, Female, Health Services Accessibility -- In Old Age, Human, Immigrants -- United States, Interviews, Male, Multimethod Studies, Personal Satisfaction, Quality of Life -- In Old Age, Questionnaires, Religion and Religions, Research Instruments, Sex Factors, Thematic Analysis, United States
AbstractRapid growth of the aging population is becoming a global phenomenon. Deterioration of biological functions as a result of the aging process significantly affects daily life and impacts older adults' overall quality of life. Aging presents special problems for Chinese-American immigrants. At a minimum, these individuals need to be able to see health care providers as needed. However, medical illiteracy, cultural differences, and lack of transportation and assistance with health care appointments still present barriers for access to health care (AHC) for this population. This has not been a well-researched topic.
The purposes of this study were to examine AHC of elderly Chinese immigrants and to explore their level of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in the cultural context of the Pacific Northwest. Mixed methods were used to conduct this research. The World Health Organization Quality of Life--Old Module instrument was used to measure Chinese immigrants' HRQOL. The demographic data sheet and the questionnaire on access to health care were used to obtain personal background information.
The participants were 108 elderly Chinese immigrants recruited from regional communities, with a mean age of 75.3 year and 43 (39.8%) of the participants being male. Results showed that the mean HRQOL score was 68.8 on a scale from 0 to 100, indicating that most participants felt their HRQOL was above average. Participants having religious beliefs showed significantly higher HRQOL. Contrary to expectation, participants living alone scored higher in HRQOL than their counterparts who did not live alone. English language difficulty turned out to be the main barrier to access to health care.
Ten of the 108 participants provided an additional in-depth interview about their aging experience. Content and theme analysis were used to determine what the participants felt were the most valuable things in their lives, which included physical health, religious belief, happiness, and good family relations.
The research results can be applied to nursing practice and education in the care of older adults of different ethnic backgrounds living either in the United States or in Asia. Future research on aging populations could broaden the study sample to compare HRQOL between different races or ethnicities, between immigrants and non-immigrants, and between institutionalized and non-institutionalized adults.
Ethno Med: