Ethnic inequality within the elderly population in utilizing healthcare services

B. Adini*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The accessibility of minority ethnic groups to healthcare services is challenging in many societies, most especially among the elderly population. Elderly individuals from minority groups have been found to have lower levels of utilizing healthcare services, including preventive care, intensive hospital care, advanced technological procedures and rehabilitation. Universal health coverage is incapable of addressing all of healthcare's access inequities and there is a need to assess the overall outcomes, including mortality rates over time, functionality of discharged patients, quality of life and/or unplanned readmissions that may indicate low quality hospital discharge processes. There is a need to investigate the impact of perceived trust/distrust in the healthcare system of elderly patients from minority ethnicities on their willingness to consume medical services. To ensure equity in service provision, there is a need to examine whether medical providers, even unconsciously, prioritize vital services, such as rehabilitation services to populations that share similar social backgrounds. An essential measure is enhancement of health literacy at all levels, from the individual to policy-makers and strategic adoption of health literacy programs that encompass all ethnicities, considering their respective needs, norms and expectations. Ethnic equality in accessing medical services is crucial in view of the numerous migrants and asylum-seekers who look for refuge in varied societies globally. Such populations are perceived as faring worse in healthcare quality of care, and this highlights the need to adapt the healthcare systems to the varied health behaviors, contextual factors, language barriers, lower health literacy levels and limited access to timely care. Improving equity and access to medical care is dependent on enhanced health literacy; policies that consider diverse needs of majority and minority groups; and advanced research. Concurrent implementation of these measures will be well aligned with the global strive to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Original languageEnglish
Article number39
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 May 2019


  • Elderly population
  • Ethnicity
  • Health literacy
  • Inequality
  • Minority
  • Utilization of healthcare


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