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Inequalities in access to health services faced by the population with hearing loss in Greece: a cross-sectional study

Dialechti Tsimpida, Petros Galanis, Daphne Kaitelidou

Abstract


Background, aims and objectives: The present study aimed to investigate the perceived barriers in access to healthcare among the population with hearing loss in Greece (deaf and hard of hearing).

Methods: The sample consisted of 86 deaf and 54 hard of hearing adults that live in Attica. Core demographic data and information regarding participants’ access to health services was gathered using a self-completed structured questionnaire. Results: The 93% of deaf and the 77.8% of hard of hearing struggled to navigate the healthcare system and reported barriers in access to health services and unmet needs (p=0.009). There were difficulties in booking an appointment (p<0.001), lack of appropriate administrative means (e.g., booking via email) so as to book a visit without the mediation of another person (p<0.001), long waiting time (p=0.01) and intention to manage very consciously the limited benefits (regarding the free interpretation hours) that are entitlements (p<0.001). Regarding engagement with healthcare providers, poor adherence to medical instructions was revealed, as the 41.2% of deaf and the 60% of the hard of hearing did not adhere to the recommended medication, making a self-assessment that they did not need to do so (p=0.02). This minority population faces disproportionate difficulties in access to healthcare and therefore significant interventions to tackle these barriers need to be considered in order to create the person-centeredness of their care. 


Keywords


Access to health services, barriers, clinical communication, deaf, equity, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) apps, hard of hearing, health literacy, health policy, health services accessibility, hearing health inequalities, medical adherence,

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5750/ejpch.v7i2.1721

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