Research question: What experiences have Arabic, Dari, and Pashto-speaking refugees and migrants had with telehealth, and how can telehealth be adapted to suit their needs?
Methods: Data were from the Refugee Telehealth and COVID-19 KAP Study, which is a sample of Dari, Arabic, and Pashto-speaking adult refugees residing in the state of New York (N = 140). Participants reported on the needs and preferences of telehealth service delivery and communication. The 14-item telehealth survey utilized questions from the Rhode Island Telehealth Patient Needs Assessment, as well as 26 additional survey questions related to COVID-19 knowledge, attitudes, and practices. The study employed a strongly collaborative and community-based approach by partnering with community data collectors to administer the study. Descriptive and cross-tabulations were examined.
Results: Participants reported both positive and negative experiences with and reactions to telehealth. Fifty one percent of participants expressed positive sentiments about telehealth health services, highlighting ease of logistics (ability to remain in the home, no need for transportation, less time-consuming) as the main advantage over in-person service delivery. The 49 percent of respondents who disliked telehealth services described feeling generally uncomfortable with using a phone for medical visits as well as feeling stymied by language barriers via phone.
Conclusions and Implications: Such an analysis is of crucial importance given the exposure to trauma and forced migratory processes that are hallmarks of the refugee experience. By better understanding the ways in which refugees engage with telehealth services, social workers will be more effective in meeting the service needs of this population in a culturally responsive manner.