The use of traditional and Western medicine among Korean American elderly

Miyong Kim, Hae Ra Han, Kim B. Kim, Diep N. Duong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

With the current wave of Asian immigration to the United States, awareness of their use of traditional medicine, often in combination with Western medicine, is an increasingly salient issue for health care professionals. This paper describes the use of traditional and Western medicine by Korean American elderly and factors that are associated with their health-seeking behaviors and health service utilization. Data were obtained from a convenience sample of 205 Korean elderly immigrants through interview. The findings revealed that health service utilization among Korean American elderly covered a broad spectrum of health resources, including the use of Western medicine, the traditional Korean medicine (hanbang), or both Western and traditional clinics. In addition, health insurance status and the source of health care were found to relate to the types of health service that Korean American elderly chose to utilize. Better understanding of patterns of health service utilization may improve the quality of health care by increasing health providers' cultural sensitivity and facilitating adequate communication between Asian immigrant clients and their care providers. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-120
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Community Health
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2002

Keywords

  • Health service utilization
  • Korean American elderly
  • Traditional medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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