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11.11.2017 | Sonderheft 1/2017 Open Access

Maternal and Child Health Journal 1/2017

Employing Community Voices: Informing Practice and Programming through Camden Healthy Start Focus Groups

Maternal and Child Health Journal > Sonderheft 1/2017
Dianne R. Browne, Sherolde Hackett, Allison Burger


Objectives Women living in communities with low-socioeconomic status, substandard healthcare, and ongoing exposure to social disparities encounter barriers to healthcare, often making it difficult to access health services. Barriers may stem from provider interactions with clients, conditions of the healthcare facility, or even language barriers. This prompts a call for providers to be keenly aware of the obstacles women encounter when attempting to access services. Methods In an effort to facilitate better access to services, Camden Healthy Start conducted six focus groups. Thirty-nine women between the ages of 22–56 participated. A total of 39 questions were posed to participants about health behavior, health services, pregnancy, reproductive health, and barriers to accessing services. Each 2 h session was audio recorded, translated and transcribed. Following the format of the Women’s Health: Attitudes and Practices in North Carolina Focus Group Research, responses were analyzed and themes emerged. Results This article discusses characteristics of healthcare services and cultural insensitivity that impact women’s access and act as barriers to care. The results signal the need for Healthy Start to apply a more relational engagement when providing services. Consideration for Practice Relational engagement includes getting to know the client as a person first, respecting their rights to autonomy in the decision making process, and demonstrating an understanding of the client’s culture and inclusion of their voices in the conversation.

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