Patient-Centered Care Experiences of First-Generation, South Asian Migrants with Chronic Diseases Living in High-Income, Western Countries: Systematic Review

Krishna Vakil*, Tigestu Alemu Desse, Elizabeth Manias, Hamzah Alzubaidi, Bodil Rasmussen, Sara Holton, Kevin P. Mc Namara

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: First-generation migrants from South Asia account for a considerable proportion of the immigrant populations in high-income, western countries and are at a high risk of developing complex, chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Yet, previous systematic reviews have not synthesized information about the healthcare needs and preferences of such migrants and the best ways for health services to provide them with appropriate, culturally sensitive, patient-centered care. The aim of this study is to systematically review the international evidence about first-generation, South Asian migrants’ healthcare experiences from the patients’ perspectives. Methods: Five databases were searched for qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods studies published between January 1990 and April 2020. Fourteen thousand, six hundred and forty-four papers were retrieved and screened using pre-determined eligibility criteria. Sixty-one papers were included in this narrative synthesis. Relevant qualitative findings from the included papers were thematically analyzed, and quantitative findings were summarized. Results: Five themes emerged from findings: 1) Healthcare services engaged; 2) the language barrier; 3) experiences and perceptions of healthcare advice; 4) the doctor–patient relationship; and 5) the role of patients’ families in supporting access and delivery of healthcare. Conclusion: The findings indicate that communication barriers reduce the cultural and linguistic appropriateness of healthcare. Potential solutions include employing healthcare staff from the same cultural background, training healthcare professionals in cultural competence, and proactively including first-generation, South Asian migrants in decision-making about their healthcare. Future research should explore South Asian migrants’ experiences of multimorbidity management, continuity of care, interdisciplinary collaboration, the formation of treatment plans and goals as little to no data were available about these issues.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPatient Preference and Adherence
Pages (from-to)281-298
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Vakil et al.


  • chronic disease
  • health services
  • migrant
  • patient participation
  • patient-centered care
  • sociological factors
  • systematic review


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