Hispanic Americans Unsure Whether Home Health Aides Can Meet Cultural Needs

Hispanic Americans aren’t very certain that home health aides can meet their cultural needs, according to a new survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, a Chicago-based research and journalism partnership.

Just 20% of Hispanics age 40 and older are “extremely or very confident” that home health aides can take their cultural needs into account, the study found. That number didn’t change much with other kinds of care, either. Only 16% of older Hispanic adults are very confident that nursing homes can meet their cultural needs, and 18% feel the same about assisted living communities.

Part of the reason for that apprehension might lie in aides having problems talking or relating to Latino residents.

A little under half of the surveyed 1,341 adults 40 and over have had difficulty communicating with a health care provider due to a cultural (47%) or language barrier (44%), according to the study. Of those who have experienced a cultural or language barrier in the health care system, 67% said it resulted in stress or delays in getting care, and 51% said it took more time and effort to overcome those barriers.

Furthermore, 39% of older Hispanic Americans said their area’s home health aides are doing a “good job” at meeting the long-term care needs of the community’s older population. For comparison, half said their local home health aides were doing “neither a good job nor a poor job,” and 9% said they were doing a “poor job.”

Older Hispanic Americans also expect home health aides to complete different kinds of tasks than their non-Hispanic counterparts.

For example, 75% of Hispanic Americans age 40 or older said they think a home health aide should help shop for groceries, while just 60% of non-Hispanic older adults think that, the data shows. And 52% of older Hispanic Americans said they think a caregiver should make sure bills are getting paid on time, while just 31% of non-Hispanic older adults said the same thing.

Overall, Hispanic Americans accounted for 5.5% of all nursing home residents in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2016, according to government data noted by the Associated Press. They also make up about 8% of the population 65 or older.

Written by Tim Regan

(Featured photo via Flickr.com/mwichary)

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Tim Regan
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