They Go the Extra Mile, the Extra Ten Miles...”: Examining Canadian Medical Yourists’ Interactions with Health Care Workers Abroad

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Crooks, V.A., V. Casey, R. Whitmore, R. Johnston, J. Snyder (2015) "'They go the extra mile, the extra ten miles...': Examining Canadian medical tourists' interactions with health care workers abroad." In N. Lunt, J. Hanefeld, D. Horsfall (eds.) Elgar Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility. UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. Pp. 830-848.

Date created: 
Medical tourism
Social support
Patient support

Developing an understanding of medical tourists' interactions with their health care workers while abroad is important for a number of reasons. Social support has been linked to improved health outcomes for patients (Berkman et al., 2000; Lee and Rotheram-Borus, 2001; Uchino, 2004, 2006), while a lack of social support has been found to lead to higher mortality rates (Brummett et al., 2001; Rutledge et al., 2004). While abroad, medical tourists are not in a position to draw on their usual social support networks as they are away from home. It could be the case that workers in medical tourism facilities are aware of this and work to form a supportive and trusting bond with the patients given that they are away from home and unable to draw on their usual support networks. Furthermore, when patients perceive their relationship with their health care workers as positive, they have been shown to have a higher chance of improved health outcomes (Stewart et al., 2000; Arora, 2003; Beach et al., 2006; Street et al., 2009). There is no reason to think this would be any different for medical tourists. The patient-health care worker relationship can have important implications for patient health and therefore we believe that research into this topic using medical tourists' own experiential accounts can help to identify strategies that can be used to secure and improve this relationship.

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Book chapter
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