Objective: The effectiveness of use of migrant health educators in the general practitioners' care for female migrants with psychosomatic problems was evaluated to contribute to the improvement of the care for these patients. Methods: A randomised controlled trial (RCT) design was used. A total of 104 patients (75%) agreed to take part in the intervention study. The patients were from Turkish and Moroccan immigrant groups living in The Netherlands. The intervention group received counselling and education from the migrant health educators as adjuncts to the GPs' care. Special attention was given to the patient's cultural background, supporting the communication between GP and patient. The control group received regular treatment from their GPs. Results: A significant improvement of perceived general health, psychological health and reported ability to cope with pain was observed among the intervention group. No effects were found for social support and the perceived burden of stressful life-events. Conclusion: The patients' perceived health and coping abilities improved through the intervention as a whole. Not all outcome measures had been affected due to among others the diversity of physical and psychological complaints the patients suffered from, non-compliance and a perceived decrease of disability over time. Practice implications: : The intervention methods should be integrated in the patient care delivery for migrants in general practice. Further development of intervention methods to address the patients' social support is recommended.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The evaluation of the Bridge Project was financed by the Municipal Health Service Rotterdam Rijnmond and the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw).