Barriers to the use of trained interpreters in consultations with refugees in four resettlement countries: a qualitative analysis using normalisation process theory
journal contributionposted on 2020-12-15, 10:15 authored by Anne E. MacFarlane, SUSANN HUSCHKE, Kevin Pottie, Fern R. Hauck, Kim Griswold, Mark F. Harris
Background: Increasing numbers of primary care practitioners in refugee resettlement countries are providing care to refugees. Access to trained interpreters is a priority for these practitioners, but there are many barriers to the implementation of interpreted consultations in routine care. There is a lack of international, theoretically informed research. The purpose of this paper is to understand barriers to interpreter use in primary care consultations in four resettlement countries using Normalisation Process Theory. Method: We conducted a cross-sectional online survey with networks of primary care practitioners (PCPs) who care for refugees in Australia, Canada, Ireland and the US (n = 314). We analysed qualitative data from the survey about barriers to interpreter use (n = 178). We completed an inductive thematic analysis, iteratively developed a Normalisation Process Theory (NPT)-informed coding frame and then mapped the emergent findings onto the theory’s construct about enacting interpreted consultations. Results: In all four countries, the use of an interpreter presented communication and interaction challenges between providers and patients, which can impede the goals of primary care consultations. Primary care practitioners did not always have confidence in interpreted consultations and described poor professional practice by some interpreters. There was variation across countries, and inconsistency within countries, in the availability of trained interpreters and funding sources. Conclusion: There are shared and differential barriers to implementation of interpreted consultations in a consistent and sustained way in the four countries studied. These findings can be used to inform country-specific and international level policies and interventions focusing on improving skills and resources for interpreted consultations to improve implementation of interpreted primary care consultations.