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Abstract

When Canadian medical tourists go abroad, they are often accompanied by friends and family, referred to as caregiver-companions, who provide informal care. These individuals play a role in patient decision-making and are stakeholders in medical tourism, yet little is known about their participation in this consumer health practice. To examine the roles that Canadian caregiver-companions play while accompanying medical tourists abroad, and to identify how multi-perspective qualitative data can augment our understanding of these roles, primary and secondary analysis was undertaken on datasets generated from multiple qualitative studies: semi-structured interviews with medical tourists, caregiver-companions, and international patient coordinators, and a survey with medical tourism facilitators. The findings from the triangulated analysis of these qualitative datasets serve to better understand the multiple, overlapping perspectives of different stakeholders in medical tourism. Results show that medical tourism caregivers act as companions, providing physical and emotional care; navigators, providing logistical assistance; and knowledge brokers, participating in decision-making and information exchange between medical tourists and professionals. Using data triangulation to examine the narratives of multiple stakeholders confirmed, altered, and augmented our knowledge of caregiver-companion roles. The unique perspectives offered by each participant group augment our understanding of caregiver roles and the practice of medical tourism.

Keywords

Caregivers/Caregiving; Family Caregiving, Medical Tourism, Semi-Structured Interviews, Qualitative Analysis, Triangulation

Author Bio(s)

Rebecca Whitmore completed her undergraduate and Master's degrees in the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: rebeccawhitmore1@gmail.com.

Valorie A. Crooks is professor in the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University. She is a health geographer and holds the Canada Research Chair in Health Service Geographies and a Scholar Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: crooks@sfu.ca.

Jeremy Snyder is professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. He is a bioethicist whose work examines issues of global health equity and injustice. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: jeremycsnyder@sfu.ca.

Acknowledgements

We are thankful to all four groups of participants for their invaluable contributions to the study. VAC is funded by a Scholar Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and holds the Canada Research Chair in Health Service Geographies. This study was supported a Catalyst Grant and Operating Grant awarded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research [EPP 97286, FRN 115692].

Publication Date

8-8-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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