In this paper, the health needs and health care utilization patterns of home attendants and their families have been studied as an illustration of those likely to be found among working poor, immigrant women and their children. Despite tremendous growth in the number of immigrants, studies to date provide only limited information regarding the specific health needs and patterns of health care utilization among such women and their children. As part of a longitudinal study on the impact of insurance on health status and health care utilization, 387 female, immigrant home attendants were interviewed. Data were also gathered on 355 of their minor children. These women and children were found to be less likely than other Americans to make use of basic health services, despite the fact that they are more likely to indicate fair or poor health status. This is true even in comparison to poor or uninsured Americans. Immigrant attendants in fair or poor health report an average annual visit rate of 4.1 ambulatory care visits for themselves and 2.2 for their children, as compared to 8.4 for poor adults and 4.4 for poor children in national samples. These findings illustrate the likelihood that poor, immigrant women make limited use of American medical care, and face barriers to health care that appear even greater than those faced by the uninsured and the poor.
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