Language Barriers Of Emergency Services Essay

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Language Barriers in Emergency Services

Deborah Wheeler

Term Paper

FSA 345, Fall 2016

Eastern Oregon University

Language Barriers in Emergency Services


The most important aspect of emergency services is the ability to respond in a timely manner. Quick response in critical, especially in life threatening situations. Communication is an important factor, because clear, often pertinent information is necessary for the correct treatment to be provided. Therefore, any barriers to providing swift and accurate care needs to be addressed and managed.

Multicultural Problem/Challenge

One such barrier is language. According to the 2000 U.S. census, nearly 18% of U.S. residents five years of age or older speak a primary language other than English at home (Managing Patients, 2011). More than 21 million (8%) speak English less than “very well” (Managing Patients, 2011). Thus, language can be a huge barrier to effective service or treatment. It can consume precious time trying to communicate through a third party that may not speak fluently. Interpretations can end up being inaccurate, resulting in ineffective treatment.

Personal Interviews

EMS Services in my community faces the challenge of language barriers every day. Our community has a very large hispanic population. To face this challenge, the Boardman EMS makes sure they have an equal amount of Spanish speaking EMS workers on staff as well as English speaking.

Research Sources
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