Interpreter services for patients who do not understand English

  1. What are hospitals doing to assure that patients who do not understand English receive active psychiatric treatment? I am wondering about individual and group therapy services, specifically.
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    Joined: Dec '05; Posts: 13


  3. by   Thunderwolf
    A lot of hospitals have their own interpreter lists of staff on board who speak a language other than English. Your facility may have one. A staff member from this list could be accessed this way. Also, many communities have their own Ethnic Community Organizations, where a member of a particular ethnic background could volunteer to assist in the language barrier. Hope this helps.
  4. by   psych nurse
    Thanks. We DO use those resources. Guess what I really want to know is the aspects of treatment that interpreters are secured for, i.e. groups and other "talk" treatment programs. We use them for assessments, treatment planning, discharge planning, informed consent, medication education.
  5. by   Thunderwolf
    I've seen them used in groups in the past too. However, there needs to be some type of orientation for them, especially regarding the issue of confidentiallity where a statement is signed by them towards their understanding of this principle of care. No different than a deaf patient who requires a sign language interpreter to be a part of their treatment team.
  6. by   pattyjo
    You can also check out universities in your area; they often have qualified interpreters on staff.

    My only concern with using hospital lists for non-English speaking patients (including those who are Deaf as was mentioned) is when the information is something like consents or other legal documentation, or specific teaching. I think then you need to have an interpreter specifically qualified in the needed language to be absolutely certain the information is conveyed accurately. We had someone once who said she knew sign language; turned out she knew the alphabet and numbers 1-10! For routine things like baths, meal times etc, someone on staff would probably be sufficient.