Illegal Immigrants: A Country Seeking Refuge

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A refugee is an individual that has fled their country seeking refuge from political oppression, religious persecution, war or a natural disaster. A refugee is an individual who cannot, feels they cannot or says they cannot return to their country safely. They may be referred to as asylum seekers and granted refugee status in the host country based on their persecution or fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality or membership in a particular social or political group.
An immigrant is a person that has migrated from another country to live in another country and may apply to live permanently in another country. Legal immigrants apply for the proper legal documentation to live and work in another country. They
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At Sentara RMH we care for considerable number of legal immigrants, illegal immigrants, and refugees. Some are insured, some are not, and they consume a significant amount of healthcare resources, including hospital charity. Healthcare professionals have taken an oath to care for individuals regardless of their ability to pay without regard to race, religion, social status or culture.
The immigration or refugee status is a non-issue in medical care. The issue is comprehension of complex medical treatment, medication regime, necessity of follow up care and adherence to treatment plan. Some of the cultures we care for do not understand appointment times are given for a reason, and they just show up at their convenience as they do in their home country. Many do not understand the importance of a primary care physician and think the Emergency Department is a walk-in clinic. Some view physicians and nurses as “very rich” and ask us to pay for their medications and several have asked us to drive them home. Recently, I encountered two families wanting us to come to their home for medical care, rather than them traveling to our clinic. This past week, I had a gentleman call requesting a nurse home visit to check his blood pressure and provide a wellness visit. He was shocked when I told him to order home health nursing visits,
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I visited a Mosque, Synagogue, Roman Catholic Church and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while attended college in Baltimore, Maryland as part of my nursing training. I joined a Vietnamese family for dinner. Re-visiting cultural awareness is beneficial, but I feel the years of taking care of patients’ from all walks of life has and continues to prepare me to meet the needs of today and the future. It is important to keep in mind the culture may stay the same, but the patient’s needs are constantly

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