Barriers and facilitators in providing care for patients with a migration background

Ann Claeys, Saloua Berdai‐Chaouni, Sandra Tricas‐Sauras, Liesbeth De Donder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Aims and objectives: The aim of this study was to identify the barriers and facilitators experienced by healthcare professionals while caring for patients with a migration background. Background: People with a migration background often face several structural inequalities and barriers in terms of accessibility to, and affordability of, healthcare. In order to provide quality care for patients with a migration background, it is important to understand which barriers healthcare professionals experience that prevent them from providing care and which factors can facilitate this. Design and methods: Qualitative research following the COREQ criteria. A total of six focus groups (n = 37) and 12 individual interviews were conducted with a multidisciplinary sample: doctors, nurses, social workers, and occupational therapists. Nursing and medical students were also included. Thematic content analysis was used. Results: Key findings suggest that the main barrier is that healthcare professionals regard people with a migration background as “the other”. Healthcare professionals do not feel secure or competent to provide care for these “others.” According to the healthcare professionals, the hospital structures—and, particularly, the managerial instances—appear to be only slightly supportive. Structural barriers at the level of the healthcare system, such as limited implementation of care coordination and austerity measures (time pressure or economic restrictions), were also perceived as barriers. Facilitators can be the healthcare professionals' attitude or the flexibility of the management. Conclusions: Healthcare professionals experience barriers in caring for people with a migration background. Othering plays a key role in building or maintaining several barriers. A multilevel approach is necessary to tackle these barriers and enable facilitators. Relevance to clinical practice: Raising awareness about “othering” in the educational programs of students and healthcare professionals is essential. Also, deploying support mechanisms and valuing the competences of multicultural and multi-lingual healthcare professionals can help facilitate quality care for patients with a migrant background. Patient or Public Contribution: Patients, informal and formal caregivers participated in the study at several stages (e.g.: by involving them during the research design phase or providing feedback and input at specific moments across the study). In addition, community participants played a key role also during the research design and data analysis phases as well as by facilitating patients' recruitment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32(5-6)
Pages (from-to)912-925
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number5-6
Early online date15 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the European Fund for Regional Development Brussels [grant number F11‐06].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Copyright 2023 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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