“An odyssey without receiving proper care” – experts’ views on palliative care provision for patients with migration background in Germany
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/15799
Abstract Background Migrants seem to be underrepresented in palliative care in Germany. Access barriers and challenges in care remain unclear. We aimed to provide a comprehensive insight into palliative care for migrants, using expert interviews. Methods Interviews with experts on palliative and general health care for migrants were audiotaped and transcribed. Data analysis followed a qualitative content analysis method for expert interviews proposed by Meuser and Nagel. Results In total, 13 experts from various fields (palliative and hospice care, other care, research and training) were interviewed. Experts identified access barriers on the health care system and the patient level as well as the sociopolitical level. Services don’t address migrants, who may use parallel structures. Patients may distrust the health care system, be oriented towards their home country and expect the family to care for them. In care, poor adaptation and inflexibility of health care services regarding needs of migrant patients because of scarce resources, patients’ preferences which may contradict professionals' values, and communication both on the verbal and nonverbal level were identified as the main challenges. Conflicts between patients, families and professionals are at risk to be interpreted exclusively as cultural conflicts. Palliative care providers should use skilled interpreters instead of family interpreters or unskilled staff members, and focus on training cultural competence. Furthermore, intercultural teams could enhance palliative care provision for migrants. Conclusions Though needs and wishes of migrant patients are often found to be similar to those of non-migrant patients, there are migration-specific aspects that can influence care provision at the end of life. Migration should be regarded as a biographical experience that has a severe and ongoing impact on the life of an individual and their family. Language barriers have to be considered, especially regarding patients' right to informed decision making. The reimbursement of interpreters in health care remains an open question.