Refugees as Patients in Family Practice

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2019.0400-0404

german translation / full article

Marlies Karsch-Völk, Terje Johannessen

Keywords: family medicine medical care refugees

BackgroundIn Germany, after an initial medical examination in a reception facility, medical care for refugees mainly takes place in primary care, i. e. in family practice. Medical care for refugees can provide specific administrative, linguistic and medical challenges.Search methodsThis text is based on the specialist article „Geflüchtete als Patienten“ in Deximed (www.deximed.de), an online handbook for family physicians. For this article a selective literature research was conducted in order to find relevant legislative texts, guidelines, recommendations, publications and statistics.Main messagesProof of insurance, scope of services und administrative procedures when using medical services for refugees differ in each federal state within the first 15 months of residence in Germany: Many refugees are only entitled for medical care of acute conditions, obstetrics, vaccination and preventative care during their first 15 months in Germany. After 15 months, scope of medical services widely conforms with common medical insurance. However, often urgently needed long-time psychotherapies are not reimbursable. Refugees are more vulnerable for infectious diseases than general population. Special attention should be paid to missing vaccinations, signs of depression and mental trauma, pregnancy, increased risk for diabetes depending on home countries, caries and iron deficiency anemia or infections. Often a translator is needed during consultations in family practice, preferably a professional translator service. ConclusionsA trustful physician-patient relation, effective translation, consideration of special medical issues and often a sound cooperation with authorities and counselling centres are essential in GP care for refugees.KeywordsRefugees; family medicine; medical care

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