Exploring Perceptions of Cancer Care Delivery Among Older Mexican American Adults

Maureen Campesino

cancer care, healthcare delivery, Mexican Americans
ONF 2009, 36(4), 413-420. DOI: 10.1188/09.ONF.413-420

Purpose/Objectives: To investigate older Mexican Americans' perceptions of cancer care delivery, specifically regarding perceived discrimination.

Research Approach: Qualitative.

Setting: Senior centers and participants' homes.

Participants: 5 older Mexican American cancer survivors.

Methodologic Approach: The sample included five Spanish-speaking Mexican Americans with low incomes who were previously diagnosed with cancer. Ages ranged from 68-86 years (X = 76.4). Participants were recruited through several community-based agencies and resources. Interviews were conducted and recorded on audiotape in participants' homes or at a senior center. A demographic questionnaire and the Mini Mental State Exam were administered in English or Spanish.

Main Research Variables: Perceptions of healthcare delivery.

Findings: Three themes emerged from the interview data: (a) emotional responses to cancer diagnosis, (b) relationship with healthcare providers, and (c) use of spiritual resources in coping with cancer. Participants denied experiencing any discrimination in health care related to race, ethnicity, income, or language spoken. Perceptions of good and poor-quality health care are described.

Conclusions: Participants were satisfied with the cancer care they received, with a few exceptions. The role of age and education level in perceived discrimination needs further exploration.

Interpretation: Replication of this study with larger, culturally diverse samples is needed to increase understanding of the role of perceived discrimination in cancer care and to develop culturally responsive, evidence-based healthcare interventions for patients and families coping with cancer.

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