Accompaniment in a Mexican Immigrant Community: Conceptualization and Identification of Biopsychosocial Outcomes
Method: Using purposive sampling, adults self-identified as former or current clients of TDJ were recruited to participate in focus groups. Client focus groups were conducted until saturation of themes occurred. Staff focus groups were also conducted. Sessions followed a standard protocol, were audiotaped, and transcribed. Qualitative software, NVivo, was used for data analysis. Qualitative coding techniques such as thematic analysis were employed within a grounded theory approach.
Results: Six client focus groups were conducted with a total of 42 participants self-identified as Hispanic/Latino. Of those who provided socio-demographic information (n=38), baseline characteristics include: mean age of 55 years; 50% female; and 80% with incomes below $20,000. Three staff focus groups were conducted, with a total 14 staff members participating. The thematic analysis revealed three types of accompaniment: spiritual, physical, and emotional. Using focus group data, the Taller de Jose model of accompaniment was developed. Clients also revealed important aspects of using Taller de Jose services such as social support and empowerment. Clients not only increased their perception of being able to advocate for themselves and access services, but also assisted others in the community to do the same.
Implications: Identifying the components of the TDJ accompaniment model are critical in assisting the agency to develop self-assessment measures and in replicating the model. Research implications include developing research in collaboration with community-based agencies. Finally, the Taller de Jose accompaniment has important practice implications for community agencies servicing a primarily undocumented Latino population. Taller de Jose accompaniment services are not only critical in “connecting services to the people and people to services” but modeling a way of practice with a vulnerable population that is grounded in respect for the client, a firm believe in inclusivity, and an empowerment approach to practice.