International adaptation: psychosocial and parenting experiences of caregivers who travel to the United States to obtain acute medical care for their seriously ill child.

Abstract

Despite the increasing trend of travel for medical purposes, little is known about the experience of parents and other caregivers who come to the United States specifically to obtain medical treatment for their seriously ill child. In this exploratory, descriptive qualitative study, we used a semi-structured narrative guide to conduct in-depth interviews with 22 Spanish- or English-speaking caregivers about the challenges encountered and adaptation required when entering a new medical and cultural environment. Caregivers identified the language barrier and transnational parenting as challenges while reporting hospital staff and their own families as major sources of support. Using the results of the study as a guide, clinical and program implications are provided and recommendations for social work practice discussed.

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