Background: Asthma is a growing cause of morbidity for elderly Americans and is highly prevalent among Hispanic people in the United States. The inability to speak English poses a barrier to patient-provider communication.
Objective: To evaluate associations between limited English proficiency, asthma self-management, and outcomes in elderly Hispanic patients.
Method: Elderly patients with asthma receiving primary care at clinics in New York City and Chicago were studied.
Results: Of 268 patients in the study, 68% were non-Hispanic, 18% English-proficient Hispanic, and 14% Hispanic with limited English proficiency. Unadjusted analyses showed that Hispanic persons with limited English proficiency had worse asthma control (P = .0007), increased likelihood of inpatient visits (P = .002), and poorer quality of life (P < .0001). We also found significant associations between limited English proficiency and poorer medication adherence (P = .006). Similar results were obtained in multiple regression analyses adjusting for demographics, asthma history, comorbidities, depression, and health literacy.
Conclusion: Limited English proficiency was associated with poorer self-management and worse outcomes among elderly patients with asthma. Further understanding of mechanisms underlying this relationship is necessary to develop interventions that improve asthma outcomes in this vulnerable population.
Copyright © 2012 American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.