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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 8  |  Page : 4045-4052

Health behaviour among bilingual Swedish speaking patients in the Finnish healthcare setting

Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki, Finland

Correspondence Address:
Marianne Mustajoki
Master of Health Science, Kiskontie 23 B, 00280 Helsinki
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_317_20

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Objective: We assessed the prevalence and consequences of discordant language communication between bilingual Swedish speaking emergency patients and general practitioners (GPs) in Finnish healthcare. We compared the results with Finnish speaking emergency patients provided with language concordant healthcare. Materials and Methods: A researcher-designed questionnaire was used to collect data about both Swedish and Finnish speaking emergency patients' health and socioeconomic status, reason for emergency visits and use of healthcare. Furthermore, the Swedish speakers' nonnative language proficiency and preferred communication language were examined. The study was performed in 16 healthcare centers and outpatient departments in bilingual regions in Finland. Results: The Swedish speakers (n = 139) visited healthcare centers less than the Finnish speakers (n = 736) (P = 0.001) and communicated less frequently with the GP in their native language (P < 0.001). The Swedish speakers more often planned to revisit their assigned GP (P < 0.001) after the emergency visit. No differences in health conditions and socioeconomic status between the language groups were observed. Conclusion: Although Swedish and Finnish speaking emergency patients report a similar prevalence of chronic noncommunicable diseases, Swedish speakers make fewer annual visits to a physician. We suggest that discordant language communication might relate to decreased healthcare visits among bilingual Swedish speaking emergency patients.

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