Establishing effective communication with the patient is a critical factor in promoting patient quality care. Good communication is fundamental when providing safe and effective care at the beside in order to increase the quality of patient care. One of the many communicative barriers that exists between patients and the healthcare team are language barriers. Language barriers are considered an initial problem of translation or code-switching. Individuals who speak different languages require a certain code breaker in order to facilitate effective communication (Gregg & Saha, 2007). Furthermore, language barriers may hinder the quality of patient care and interfere with optimal clinical outcomes. According to Happ et al., 2011, nurses have the unique responsibility to engage in communication with patients and have control over the timing and method of communication. Evidenced based interventions such as communication boards are needed to improve nurses’ communication skills in order to achieve effective communication.
With the increasing immigrant population a third barrier affecting access to health care is a cultural barrier. Culture barriers can include values and beliefs, language and race and ethnicity. Health beliefs and behavior can become a barrier when patients decide not to seek medical treatment and instead turn to home remedies and healers when treating illnesses. Approximately 10% of Americans speak a language other than English and can be classified ad being limited in their proficiency. For these patients language becomes a barrier and they are less likely to receive optimal medical treatment (Flores, 2006). Horton and Johnson (2010) stress the importance of communication in reducing disparities and increasing the trust of patients in the health care system. As reported by the American College of Physicians, evidence reveals that racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to receive inferior care when compared with non-minorities. This occurs even when minorities have access to insurance and adequate income (Racial and ethnic disparities in health care, 2010).
Can you imagine the how the healthcare industry would be without language, what seems to be impossible to imagine is the everyday reality of some patients because of their native language. Language is a major contribution to the health disparities that some populations face, because it makes it difficult for some patients to communicate their problems as well as understand the care they provided. Language contributes to the health disparities that some populations face because it creates a barrier between the patient and the care provider, making it difficult for a patient to receive proper care. Language barriers create a communication gap between a patient and a provider, forcing the patient to feel misunderstood and unable to trust his/her provider to properly care for them. I come from a family that speaks more than one language, so I have seen the impact language barriers can have on someone who doesn’t speak fluent English.
In 2004 my grandmother and I moved from Haiti to United States without a speck of English in our language. After few years living in the states, my grandma started to get ill and she had to seek monthly medical assistance. At the time, my mother was working multiple jobs and I was a full time undergrad student that lived on college campus. Our busy schedule posed a challenge for us to bring grandma to her medical appointments. Most times it was hard for us to find someone to go with her and assist her with language translation. When it was time for her to go by herself, the health providers would have trouble finding a professional translator on the spot to assist my grandma. This became a repetitive problem and my grandma’s case was not getting any better. If she had the ability to communicate with her provider using her own language, she would have been able to be more expressive about her symptoms and the doctors would have assisted her to her needs. Just like my grandma, many people that speaks little to no English, are having trouble interpreting their medical diagnosis and communicating with their healthcare providers.
Non-English speaking citizens and immigrants are receiving improper medical care because of the miscommunication. The people who cannot speak English well are misunderstood, when they go to free clinics or hospital emergency rooms and attempt to explain their symptoms and illness or cannot understand the doctors or medical profession that are trying to help them. ” Interpreters are omitting questions about drug allergies. Patients are not telling nurses the correct symptoms. A mother misunderstood by putting oral antibiotic into the ears of the child instead of the mouth. The Puerto Rican word for mumps is not the same in Central America, so a child was mistreated. A doctor mistakenly told a parent to put a steroid crème on entire child instead of just the face” (Yolanda Prtida, 2005). Language barriers in the medical field are dangerous and some times even fatal. There is definitely a need for more translators in hospitals and doctors office. Clear communication is essential for safe quality healthcare. Poor communication can lead to disastrous outcomes, especially for patients with limited or no English ability.
3: The use of language (language barrier) is one difficulty that may arise when trying to implement anti-discriminatory practice in the health and social care settings. Administration client that utilize the administration of health
The language barrier is a glaring problem for Hispanics in terms of accessing health care coverage for several reasons. Hispanics have far fewer Spanish speaking support systems to navigate them through the complex system that will provide them access to health care. In addition, demographically speaking, it is going to be harder for the Hispanic population to access a provider that is fluent in their language. While interpreters are sometimes available for the Spanish speaking population, they may be reluctant to use them. Primarily they may be worried that the translation will not be accurately reported to the health care provider as they don’t know what is being said in the English portion of the translation. Another possible barrier to translation is that perhaps the individual has a medical issue they do not want shared with a stranger who is not the medical provider specifically (Maxwell et al., 2011). Therefore, these issues could possibly create more barriers to quality care. Although the Affordable Care Act has increased health care coverage for low-income, uninsured Hispanics with the expansions of Medicaid, as a result of the Supreme Court ruling, this remains to be a state option. Studies show an estimated 95% of uninsured Latinos would qualify for Medicaid
2. Language: Language can have a significant impact on multiple aspects of the health care of Hispanic children, including access, health status, use of services, and outcomes. The lack of Spanish speaking health care staff and inadequate interpreter services are the principle problems associated with language barriers. Research has shown that medical interpreters are not called when needed, inadequately trained, or not available at all (Flores, Afflick & Barbot, 2002).
In my understanding, a language is a useful tool of communication in the health sector that lack of it can prevent the success of health care. A language barrier is one of the things that went wrong between Lia’s family and the doctors. A language education that is oral and writing is needed in the health care system to make effective health care services. In the book, "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down," Lia’s parents can speak only Hmong, and they don't speak, read or understand English. So it became challenging to them any time they visit Merced's hospital to express themselves. Because "there have been no Hmong-speaking employees of any kind present in the hospital..." For instance, "Foua and Nao Kao had no way of explaining what had happened since Lia’s seizures had stopped by the time they reached the hospital." As well as the doctors don't understand their language, so it makes their work tough. Like "the doctors on the late shift in the emergency room have often had no way of taking a patient's medical history and much more." The doctors misdiagnosed Lia's first seizure condition just because they are unable to communicate with Lia's parents since they had no Hmong interpreters in the hospital. Another example, Lia's father signed a document that spelled his name, his wife name, and their language wrong and other materials with an instruction they did not understand. Like this instruction: "I hereby acknowledge receipt of the instruction noted above," to wit: 'Take ampicillin as
Unfortunately, the world we live is a far cry from perfect. We have all types of barriers and roadblocks that we must face and attempt to overcome on a daily basis. When dealing with healthcare, these barriers and roadblocks can be much scarier – and in some cases even deadly. These barriers are not limited to only language, but also to differences in cultures as well.
Effective communication with patients is critical to the safety and quality care. From the last two decades ,number of researches has been conducted on the impact of language barrier on health and healthcare. It is observed that language barriers are the main cause of medical errors, complication and adverse event. But due to data limitations ,limited researches on impacts of language barrier has been conducted in Canadian setting. However, the researches conducted on other countries on the impact of language barrier on quality of care is applicable in the Canadian context. Some researches shows that there are several barrier which affect quality of care and patient safety. Now, researches has begun to know the complexity of language, culture, race, health literacy that may affect patient care. Current approaches are moved towards the knowledge of risk of language barrier rather than implementation of effective, evidence informed strategies.
Caring for the elderly who have hearing loss, vision loss and other normal diminishing physical and mental abilities make conversation difficult. And caring for patients from a different ethnicity creates that much more of a barrier. Having a language barrier prevents healthy communication. I have taken care of a patient from Russia, because of the language barrier I felt that I was not able to provide therapeutic care to that patient. I was very upsetting to me because I could see how frustrated and upset he was
To communicate seems easy enough to most of us. We have been doing this from the moment we were born. We expressed ourselves with grunts, moans, crying, smiling and yelling. We started communicating even before we made words with our nonverbal forms of communication. Communication is important. It allows individuals to share information and messages in the form of ideas and feelings (Giger, 2013). It gives us direction and allows us to interact with others. Can you image getting the entertainment system in parts in the mail with no instructions as to how to put it together? It is essential that we all communicate effectivity in order to ensure the best quality of care. Language barriers threaten the patient safety and overall quality of care of these individuals. By having efficient practices in place it will lower those risks and increase quality care.
Language barriers and lack of knowledge regarding the United States medical system are also problems among the immigrant and refugee population. Because of the language barrier, immigrants and refugees may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable going to the doctor which causes long term issues.
The response to any emergency is considered to be very critical and therefore should be as efficient as possible. In the healthcare sector, responses to situations are counted by the seconds. From natural disasters to epidemics, the only chance left to respond to any of this occurrence could only be counted in seconds. That means life is either saved or lost in a matter of seconds. Putting in place certain responses to these unexpected occurrences, such as crises management communication plan, help save lives and arrest crises from aggravating. Failure to have crises management communication plan is considered by many commentators to be a crisis in itself. Accepted medical care is highly dependent on effective communication between healthcare providers and the patients; among healthcare providers and the outside world. The characteristics of crises make it necessary for prior planning and effective communication among stakeholders in the health sector (Klaene and Sanders, 2006; Ronen, 2006).