Background: An increasing proportion of pediatric cancer patients in the United States are Latino and many have Spanish-speaking immigrant parents with limited English proficiency (LEP). Little is known about how language or undocumented immigration status impacts their care experience. Procedure: A cross-sectional survey was administered to English (N = 310) and Spanish-speaking LEP (N = 56) caregivers of pediatric cancer patients. To assess differences in healthcare experiences between the language groups, t-tests and chi-square statistics were used. Multivariable logistic regression evaluated associations between primary language and knowledge of clinical trial status. Results: Spanish-speaking caregivers were more likely to report higher rates of quitting or changing jobs as a direct result of their child's cancer, and their children were more likely to experience a delay in education. Although Spanish-speaking caregivers reported higher satisfaction with care, 32% reported feeling that their child would have received better care if English was their primary language. Spanish-speaking caregivers were more likely to incorrectly identify whether their child was on a clinical trial compared with English-speaking caregivers. The majority of Spanish-speaking caregivers reported at least one undocumented caregiver in the household and 11% of them avoided or delayed medical care for their child due to concerns over their undocumented immigration status. Conclusions: Language barriers and undocumented immigration status may negatively impact the quality of informed decision-making and the care experience for Spanish-speaking LEP caregivers of pediatric cancer patients. These families may benefit from culturally appropriate Spanish language resources to improve communication and open a dialogue regarding undocumented immigration status.
- communication barriers
- language barriers
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health