Psychosocial Aspects of Chronic Illness and Disability among African Americans

By Faye Z. Belgrave | Go to book overview

to get the services they need. This consumer advocate could also help the treatment staff become more sensitive to the needs of consumers.

Finally the facility must be accessible. Hours of operation should be flexible. Perhaps the facility could stay open late one evening a week. Child care may be necessary for parents who have to bring their children with them to appointments. Transportation needs should be considered a necessary aspect of medical services. When possible, services should be located within the community in which consumers reside. Friendly reminders of appointments may also be helpful and convey to the consumer that his or her attendance is important.

Rehabilitation professionals also need to be aware of and ready to address core problems that impact the consumer, such as lack of adequate housing, employment, and food. It is unlikely that one institution or agency could take care of all of these problems, so services must be coordinated to avoid duplication.


SUMMARY

There are disparities between African Americans and Whites in health, medical, and rehabilitation utilization patterns. Several factors contribute to these disparities, including access factors, attitudinal barriers, and cultural differences. Strategies for improving utilization patterns and adherence can be implemented at the individual, family, community, and institutional level. Increased empowerment of African Americans for assuming responsibilities for health and related outcomes is an important first step. Additionally, use of family and community resources, including the church, should prove useful. Training of more African American consumers with disabilities and training in the area of cultural diversity should be helpful to professionals who are not African American.

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