expectancy for AI’s is approximately five years less than that of the general U.S. population, and the health statistics for AI’s are often that of individuals living in lower to middle-income countries (Hutchinson & Shin, 2014). AI’s tend to have a lower income, be unemployed more frequently, and have a lower education level as compared to Caucasians (Espey et al., 2014). The poor health statistics among AI’s are often attributed to disparities in socioeconomic status, poor living conditions, lower income, and increased barriers to health services compared to non- minority populations in the U.S. (Hutchinson & Shin, 2014). The health care provider caring for this patient must have an understanding of the patient’s socioeconomic status; if a patient is unable to afford prescription medication or has limited access to health care the patient may not be compliant with treatment and follow-up. Spirituality Like many other cultures and ethnic groups, spirituality is vital to AI’s (A.I.R. Policy Center, 2013). An individual’s religious beliefs may be a sensitive subject and should be considered and discussed with care. The idea of going to Heaven after death is a commonly held belief in many world religions. While the health care provider may be unable to reassure the patient of his eternal destination, the provider can lend a listening ear to the patient’s concerns. Seeking to understand the patient’s religious beliefs may provide insight into the patient’s desire to seek treatment. Helping the patient determine the root of the anxiety may allow the patient to sort through some of the emotional uncertainty that is being experienced.
Lifestyle Lifestyle is another aspect of this patient’s health that must be explored. The patient reports smoking “pot” and drinking alcohol to cope with anxiety. Gathering information on the extent of cultural practice, tribal affiliation, or ceremonial participation may give the health care provider more insight into the patient’s overall wellbeing. The provider must also explore the patient’s willingness to use traditional medicine as a treatment option. According to Bassett, Tsosie, & Nannauck (2012), combining AI healing practices with modern medicine is beneficial to Native patient by increasing compliance and resulting in better patient outcomes.
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- Summer '15
- Native Americans in the United States, Health care provider