Communication with Roma Patient – a Challenge

Communication with Roma Patient – a ChallengeAndrada PARVU, Rodica GRAMMA, Angela ENACHE, Gabriel ROMAN, Laszlo FOSZTO, Silvia DUMITRAS, Stefana MOISA & Beatrice IOAN

Abstract: Objective: This article examines culture-based particularities of communication between doctors and Romani chronic patients. Methods: Qualitative study consisting of 48 semi-structured individual with Roma patients and their careers from two Romanian counties (Iasi and Cluj) and 3 focus groups with health mediators. The interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Results: Answers varied according to participants’ degree of acculturation. The family plays a central role in caring for the patient, accompanies him at doctor visits, and interferes to doctor-patient communication. Communicating with the patient must be tailored to the Roma patients. Conclusion: To optimise communication, medical staff should be aware and respectful of cultural values, customs, and perceptions of the Roma regarding health and illness. Failure to observe these criteria may lead to breach of doctor-patient relationship, and possible failure of medical care. The degrees of individual Roma acculturation into the Romanian culture must be taken into consideration, and adjust the pattern of communication accordingly. The role of health mediators in the communication between medical staff and Romani patients are very important. Practical implications: The dissemination of information regarding the Roma cultural values in regards to illness helps the health services adapt and create a holistic multicultural care model.
Keywords: doctor-patient communication, Roma patient, ethnicity.