Challenges and facilitators for health professionals providing primary healthcare for refugees and asylum seekers in high-income countries: a systematic review and thematic synthesis of qualitative research

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Authors

Abstract

Objectives To thematically synthesise primary qualitative studies that explore challenges and facilitators for health professionals providing primary healthcare for refugees and asylum seekers in high-income countries.

Design Systematic review and qualitative thematic synthesis.

Methods Searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL and Web of Science. Search terms were combined for qualitative research, primary healthcare professionals, refugees and asylum seekers, and were supplemented by searches of reference lists and citations. Study selection was conducted by two researchers using prespecified selection criteria. Data extraction and quality assessment using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool was conducted by the first author. A thematic synthesis was undertaken to develop descriptive themes and analytical constructs.

Results Twenty-six articles reporting on 21 studies and involving 357 participants were included. Eleven descriptive themes were interpreted, embedded within three analytical constructs: healthcare encounter (trusting relationship, communication, cultural understanding, health and social conditions, time); healthcare system (training and guidance, professional support, connecting with other services, organisation, resources and capacity); asylum and resettlement. Challenges and facilitators were described within these themes.

Conclusions A range of challenges and facilitators have been identified for health professionals providing primary healthcare for refugees and asylum seekers that are experienced in the dimensions of the healthcare encounter, the healthcare system and wider asylum and resettlement situation. Comprehensive understanding of these challenges and facilitators is important to shape policy, improve the quality of services and provide more equitable health services for this vulnerable group.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere015981
JournalBMJ open
Volume2017
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

Keywords

  • asylum seeker , primary care , primary healthcare , refugee