Hospitals have been a hot topic during the recent pandemic, and for good reason. Hospitals, large and small, have been the front lines of the developing COVID-19 pandemic. These past few months have been a test of our infrastructure’s preparedness for emergency situations.
Do hospitals have enough PPE? Ventilators? Are patients in danger if they go in for a health condition besides COVID? What about elective procedures? Should they even be happening or should the show go on?
No matter what you think of the above concerns, it is undeniable that patient influx does not stop for a pandemic. It is important to note that the intake of limited English proficient patients in local hospitals does not stop either. Limited English proficient speakers are not an issue to be worked around, but rather people to be respected and met with the same level of care as other patients. Hospitals should be motivated to provide the best care for all individuals, whether they speak Turkish, Fulah, English, or Mandarin.
“Approximately 25 million, 8.6 percent of the U.S. population, are identified as being limited English proficient.” (Betancourt, Renfrew, Green, Lopez, Wasserman, 2012) How do hospitals offer exceptional care, even to those that they cannot have unmediated communication with, especially in unprecedented situations?
Denying care to patients with limited English proficiency is not an option. Some providers may consider using family or friends of the patient to interpret their appointments. One study, however, showed that between 23% to 52% of words and phrases were incorrectly translated by these ad hoc interpreters. (Breen) The solution to this issue is for hospitals to provide their patients with trained, professional interpreters. These interpreters can be face to face – or in the world of COVID-19, over the phone or streamed through video.
We are proud to offer face to face, over the phone, and video interpretation services to our healthcare providers during this time. We are working with local hospitals to provide these professional interpreters so that while patient care may look a little different, it doesn’t stop.
While many things have changed, we here at 7C Lingo are still committed to meeting your needs, whether they are in the courtroom, the operation room, or wherever your interpretation needs lead you. Thanks for joining us for the COVID effect, where we discuss what has changed, what has stayed the same, and how we can work together to make global-local.
Betancourt, J. R., MD, Renfrew, M. R., MA, Green, A. R., MD, Lopez, L., MD, & Wasserman, M., Ph.D. (2012, September). Improving Patient Safety Systems for Patients with Limited English Proficiency. Retrieved June 11, 2020, from https://www.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/publications/files/lepguide.pdf
Breen, L. M., MD. (1999). What Should I Do If My Patient Does Not Speak English? MsJAMA. DOI:10.1001