Spanish speaking patients in labor

  1. 0
    I need some advice on a problem that is new to my area. I live in a small Kentucky town and a local food processing plant has recently began a new program of recruiting workers from Mexico. In the next couple of months it is expected that as many as 400 families (Non-English speaking) will be in our community. My problem is this.......since I work at the closest hospital they probably will be coming to our facility to deliver. None of the nurses speak Spanish, and I have been told that a large majority of the patients are also unable to read Spanish. So the communication gap will be huge. I am sure that many of you in larger areas with Spanish-speaking communities are familiar with this situation, but here in Ky it is new for us.
    I am searching for a website that I can find some literature on common medical phrases, and hope to be able to educate the nurses in at least some basic ones......push, don't push, Where do you hurt, etc..... Plesae help!
    Many of the local churches are concentrating on having Spanish speaking services and English classes. But no one is really prepared for the health care aspect or how best to bridge this gap.
    Please help, any suggestions will be appreciated.

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  2. 27 Comments...

  3. 0
    We, too are in the same boat--many spanish speaking women in the last year. No one speaks spanish around here. So, thank-you for the suggestion of books (I have a year of college spanish but it doesn't really help). Another suggestion--I bought a little flip pocket book for EMT that the paramedics use and that has good spanish/english medical stuff. I'm going to look at that site for arabic phrases as well--lots of arabic-speaking people moving to the midwest--
  4. 0
    They also sell hand held translators for Spanish.
  5. 0
    I think all of the above posts are great, but you may want to start thinking about how you will provide translation for these folks. I do not know what the laws are in your state, but ours dictates that any non-English speaking patient be offered translation services at the hospitals expense. That means that the translator stays for the duration of labor. You may also want to look into your phone companies ability to provide translation for you. AT&T has a translation line you can be a user of. You would need a speaker phone for the patients room. You could also hire a translator at the hospital or find out if any of your staff can speak Spanish and would be willing to help out with translation. Good luck...
  6. 0
    First: Get ALL your local MDs to post signs in their offices, IN SPANISH, requesting the patients to always bring their own interpreter to office AND HOSPITAL VISITS.

    Federal law requires hospitals to provide interpreters...but, good luck getting them!

    I'd suggest you use the ATT services for your legal consents and a brief health history. The folks who staff those lines are great!! I usually explain the full list of consents to the ATT interpreter, then they do so with the patient. Then I run thru my list of basic health problems, like an preanesthesia checksheet, & have ATT do the same w/ the patient. I also cover possible emergencies, & porcedures like AROM, FSE, IUPC, EPIs, & C/S. Lastly, I have ATT as the patient if she has any questions or concerns at this time, and also tell them to tell her to pick up & point to the phone if she needs further ATT services. This whole conversation usually takes between 15" & 30", depending on patient's questions!

    Lastly, if you make just a bit of effort, you will quickly pick up enough Spanish words & phrases to augment your charades, so that you are understood & your patient feels cared for!

    Buanos Noches!
    La Gringa from Las Vegas

  7. 0
    I agree with the above post about trying getting a translater in time, this is why the above books were recomended--only as a supplement to the already in place policies. We use AT&T language line but an alternative company called Garden and Associates works quite well for us--I will usually call them first. The trick is trying to get the MD, Nurse, Pediatrician and whatever all together at once for D/C instr--try this once!!
  8. 0
    Living in the southwest, we have a huge number of spanish speaking patients.

    Learning the basics has been quite helpful for me, too. I can now get through most of the important things on an admission and get through most procedures (iv starts, etc) and general labor and delivery.

    However, there is some risk involved in not getting a translator-or even in using a non-certified one. Suppose you use a family member and that family member misunderstands you, and conveys the wrong message to the patient? Or, your pt. misunderstands your broken spanish? If there were to be a bad outcome because of it, I'm sure their lawyer would love to hear that you didn't obtain a proper translator. Patients also do not always answer in truth when it comes to sensitive questions if translated by visitors. It does put us in a tough spot!

    In the hospital I was trained at, they were working on getting 24 hour in-house coverage for spanish translation. The translator was shared between L+D and the ER. That was pretty handy-but the translator wasn't always readily available. Obviously, if something big is going on in the ER, that takes precedence over just another delivery...But it did help to have an actual "Spanish Translator," that we weren't constantly having to look for someone who speaks spanish, who then has to take time from their own job to translate.

    At the last hospital I worked at, we have access to a "CyraCom" phone-which is a phone used specifically for translation. Anyways, it has 2 receivers. You plug it in to the phone jack in the patient's room, pick one receiver up, access the service (MANY different languages are available), and you are connected to a translater. They give you an ID number which you then write in your notes ("Admission H+P completed, as translated by cyracom rep#..."). Then, you give the second receiver to the patient. And you actually have an official translation session going! I like it, other than the extra time taken-figure it will take twice as long as it would for you to do for your english-speaking patients. Usually, when I admit a pt, I will cover EVERYTHING that I can think of in one translation-from admission paperwork to consents to plan of care (including possible use of pitocin, ivs, etc.) and pain management.

    The service really is handy. Maybe you can suggest it to your manager??? The do have a website: I'm sure there are probably other companies out there as well.
  9. 0
    It is not wise to use friends or family members to interpret. We also use ATT and are confident that information is shared without altering the content by the translator or any confusion about the information. Also, the interpreter may pick up on cultural cues that are essential which you would miss if anyone else was interpreting. We find this often to be the case.
  10. 0
    Here in Washington, I don't think it's even legal to use a non-certified interpretor.

    It's an expensive thing: Hope the taxpayers where you are realize it's on their dime.
  11. 2
    Here's another thought. Maybe the employer who is recruiting all these folks can provide a certified interpretor as well as English classes which the workers are required to take.
    morte and mjb324 like this.

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