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Examining the Practice of Informal Caregiving in Medical Tourism

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Medical tourism refers to the process whereby patients purchase health care abroad, outside of their home health care systems, and pay privately for care. Some reasons patients engage in this form of private health care include: real or perceived wait times, desire to obtain experimental procedures not available at home, and mistrust of the domestic health care system. While the literature provides accounts of the experiences of medical tourists and industry facilitators, the friends and family who accompany medical tourists abroad as informal caregivers are under-researched. In this study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, we have uncovered these caregivers' experiences through four datasets collected from different stakeholder groups: i) 32 former Canadian medical tourists interviewed between July and November 2010; ii) 7 Canadian medical tourism facilitators surveyed in 2012; iii) 21 international patient coordinators in destination facilities interviewed in 2012; and iv) 20 Canadian caregivers interviewed between September 2013 and February 2014. Data triangulation enabled us to compare, contrast and augment the results from these separate datasets to arrive at the following findings and recommendations.
SFU Department of Geography report.
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Copyright is held by the author(s) and the Dept. of Geography, Simon Fraser University.
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