Exploring low-income families' financial barriers to food allergy management and treatment.

Research paper by Leia M LM Minaker, Susan J SJ Elliott, Ann A Clarke

Indexed on: 03 Apr '14Published on: 03 Apr '14Published in: Journal of allergy


Objectives. Low-income families may face financial barriers to management and treatment of chronic illnesses. No studies have explored how low-income individuals and families with anaphylactic food allergies cope with financial barriers to anaphylaxis management and/or treatment. This study explores qualitatively assessed direct, indirect, and intangible costs of anaphylaxis management and treatment faced by low-income families. Methods. In-depth, semistructured interviews with 23 participants were conducted to gain insight into income-related barriers to managing and treating anaphylactic food allergies. Results. Perceived direct costs included the cost of allergen-free foods and allergy medication and costs incurred as a result of misinformation about social support programs. Perceived indirect costs included those associated with lack of continuity of health care. Perceived intangible costs included the stress related to the difficulty of obtaining allergen-free foods at the food bank and feeling unsafe at discount grocery stores. These perceived costs represented barriers that were perceived as especially salient for the working poor, immigrants, youth living in poverty, and food bank users. Discussion. Low-income families report significant financial barriers to food allergy management and anaphylaxis preparedness. Clinicians, advocacy groups, and EAI manufacturers all have a role to play in ensuring equitable access to medication for low-income individuals with allergies.

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