Access to Cardiac Rehabilitation Among South-Asian Patients by Referral Method: A Qualitative Study
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People of South-Asian origin have an increased prevalence of coronary artery disease. Although cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is effective, South Asians are among the least likely people to participate in these programs. Automatic referral increases CR use and may reduce access inequalities. This study qualitatively explored whether CR referral knowledge and access varied among South-Asian patients. Participants were South-Asian cardiac patients receiving treatment at hospitals in Ontario, Canada. Each hospital refers to CR via one offour methods: automatically through paper or electronically, through discussion with allied health professionals (liaison referral), or through referral at the physician's discretion. Data were collected via interviews and analyzed using interpretive-descriptive analysis. Four themes emerged: the importance of predischarge CR discussions with healthcare providers, limited knowledge of CR, ease of the referral process for facilitators of CR attendance, and participants'needs for personal autonomy regarding their decision to attend CR. Liaison referral was perceived to be the most suitable referral method for participants. It facilitated communication between patients and providers, ensuring improved understanding of CR. Automatic referral may not be as well suited to this population because of reduced patient-provider communication.
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