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Friday, January 11, 2008

Health Care for Chinese

I just got an E-Mail asking for resources from somebody writing a paper.

Based on my families experience in the US with health care.

1. Chinese Americans vary a lot. Chinese American - Who are they? For example from a 1st generation immigrant working here illegally as a nanny or in a restaurant to another first generation immigrant who owns a Billion Dollar Electronics reseller. Differences include culture (1st generation Taiwan vs. 1st Generation China vs 3rd Generation ect.), Language (both written and verbal), not to mention location. There are many more differentiators.

2. On hospitals and what they could improve on. Being able to get real Chinese breakfasts at a Hospital would be nice after childbirth. Not being assigned rooms that are considered unlucky (such as the number 4). Giving out material on breastfeeding in Chinese. Traditional Characters should be used, since a person who reads Simplified can also read Traditional. But a person who reads Traditional will find it more challenging to figure out Simplified. That is why most newspapers in the US are in Traditional Characters. Those that are not are making a political statement. Post of mine on the subject Simplified vs. Traditional Chinese Characters - Which to Learn Again the needs for Chinese American really vary from a third generation who speaks no Chinese and may prefer the typical American breakfast to a traditional Chinese one to a person who only speaks Chinese and wants a Chinese breakfast. Many Chinese have their own businesses, so often when they visit the hospital they don't have health insurance, so understanding this is helpful. Having a translator available for Mandarin (the main Chinese dialect) helps. Hospital paperwork can be challenging even for people fluent in English. In Taiwan, a family member will often stay with a person in the hospital to help them. Making this possible helps. It's annoying when the recorded message for a patient who does not speak English, is in English. Hopefully it gets caught on an answer machine and a relative gets to translate it.

3. Traditional Chinese medicine is used by many Chinese Americans including Accupuncture and herbs. China has a long history of medicine that is different than the traditional Western Medicine. The ethnic Chinese I know do not see this as as either/or situation, but as an AND situation where they take the best of both.

4. Mental Health Services - mostly not very well done due to cultural issues. A service that impressed me I have heard about for years, and actually included in a paper I wrote for my teaching credential is Asian Pacific Family Center.

5. Taiwan has universal health care, so many people who qualify when they have medium to major medical issues will fly back to Taiwan. This way they can go to a first rate hospital, no language issues (and insurance headaches), and free.

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