Authors: Yu Jin Lim and M. Judith Lynam
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the issues related to primary care access by older (aged 60 years and older) Korean immigrants to Canada. As many elderly are managing ongoing chronic health conditions as part of their everyday lives, issues of access to health services are particularly important. The aim of the study is to generate insights to assist health care professionals to understand the nature of the challenges and issues older Korean immigrants face when seeking health care and how they resolve them. Methods: The study employed the methodology of interpretive description. Interview data were gathered from 10 older Korean immigrants (mean of age =71.5 years). Five of the participants were male and five were female. Open-ended interviews and field notes were used to collect data. Findings: The findings revealed that older Korean immigrants have had difficulty gaining access to appropriate primary health care services because of language and social barriers. Such barriers resulted in an inappropriate use of primary care services and contributed to delay in health care services and lack of continuity in service delivery. Also, primary health care was often unresponsive to the health care needs of older Korean immigrants. Conclusions: This study offers insights to assist health care professionals to understand the nature of the challenges and issues older Korean immigrants face when seeking health care and how they resolve them. Describing this phenomenon has provided some insights to propose interventions that respect the older Korean immigrants’ values and improve their access to primary health care. The insights from this exploratory study give some preliminary direction to health care professionals as they provide care that respect and support the older Korean immigrants.
Keywords: Older Korean immigrants, primary health care, Aging