Not only do Latinos constitute the fastest growing minority group in the country, they also face significant health challenges. Low-income Latino families encounter particular health literacy barriers because of language challenges and potential mistrust of the health care system. The complexity of navigating the US health system and understanding health information often contributes to poor health outcomes for this population.
KDHRC developed En Familia resources to improve Latino families’ abilities to navigate the health care system and become skilled managers of their health and health care. Designed for implementation at nonprofit and faith-based community-based organizations, En Familia uses an intergenerational, family-based training approach. By keying on the importance of family among Latinos, En Familia encourages families to support each other in finding, using, and understanding health care services and information.
Participants who attended the En Familia sessions demonstrated improved health literacy skills related to finding, using, and understanding health care services and information. Participants also reported feeling more positive and confident about navigating the health care system and resolving their health concerns in partnership with their health care providers.
“Before [completing ENF], I would take my son to play soccer, and was so afraid that something might happen to him. I heard that it is very expensive if he was injured. Thanks to the program, now I have insurance and I am not so worried anymore.”
“Now I know that I should write down my problems [before a medical appointment], what hurts, and my questions. Before [attending ENF], after a visit I would say ‘Why didn’t I tell the doctor that this or that hurt?’ Now, I feel that I am ready for an appointment.”
“I used to be embarrassed to ask the doctor the same question when I didn’t understand what he said. I just stayed quiet. But now I tell the doctor, ‘this is what I think you said…’ and I repeat what he said so I can make sure that I understand.”
“ENF helped me a lot. I was afraid because I didn’t have health insurance so I would ‘prescribe’ medication to my children. For example, when they had a cold, I would say to my husband, ‘Let’s give them antibiotics.’ Now we know, I learned, that we should not prescribe medications to ourselves. We should be more careful and not share medications. In one week, I learned a lot!”
“I think that [family communication] has improved, especially between my son and me. We talk more and have become closer since attending the program. We talk more about our health. Recently we talked about depression.”
To learn more about En Familia or to purchase the program click here.
To learn more about the methodology and outcomes of the En Familia evaluation, click here.