Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care


aged, cultural diversity, health policy, health services, emigrants, immigrants, meta-ethnography







Current and predicted continued dramatic increases in international migration and ethnocultural diversity of older adult cohorts pose challenges for health care services. Review studies on ethnoculturally diverse older adults and health care show a lack of focus on their service use experiences. This study aims to report a meta-ethnography that addresses this knowledge gap through answering the review question: How do ethnoculturally diverse older adults who are immigrants experience health care services?


The authors applied a seven-phase method of meta-ethnography to guide the review. The authors conducted two literature searches (April 2018 and June 2020) in MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, Sociological Abstracts and Abstracts in Social Gerontology that yielded 17 papers eligible for review.


“There’s always something positive and something negative” is the overarching metaphor for answering the review question. Findings highlight positive and negative tensions within ethnoculturally diverse older adults’ health care use experiences of understanding and being understood, having trust in providers and the health care system, having needs, preferences and resources met and desire for self-care over dependency. The majority of experiences were negative. Tipping points towards negative experiences included language, fear, provider attitudes and behaviours, service flexibility, attitudes towards Western and traditional health care and having knowledge and resources.


The authors propose concrete actions to mitigate the tipping points. The authors discuss policy recommendations for health care system changes at the micro, meso and macro service levels to promote positive experiences and address mainstream service policy inequities.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License