The Importance Of Health Care Practitioners Being Aware Of This Largely Neglected Problem

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What do all those phrases mean? You might find it surprising, but all of those phrases can be translated into a simple, yet powerful phrase in English: help me! Communication is the key to success for our species, whether the mode of communication is English, Spanish, computer coding, sign language, grunts accompanied with pointing or smoke signals. Language is what connects but also disconnects people. It is a tool that can either create and build greatness or act as a barrier to the unification of society. When a difference in language hinders communication between a patient and their health care provider, it jeopardizes the quality of the medical care that a patient receives and in some cases prevents the patient from receiving care at…show more content…
Spanish is by far the most common non- English language spoken in America. Approximately 7 percent of people who do not speak English at home have limited English proficiency (LEP). Within the last 30 years there has been a 158.2% change in the amount of people in the United States population who speak a language other than English at home. The rapid rise in the percentage of non-English speakers and language diversity in America is “fueled by both long-term historic immigration patterns and more recent ones” (Ryan, 15). Immigration is not going to cease and language diversity within the United States will continue to increase in years to come. Language barriers between physicians and patients have been associated with a decrease in patient and provider satisfaction, lack of preventative health services, increased diagnostic testing, repeat visits to the ER, extended hospital stays, increased number and severity of medical errors and problems obtaining informed consent (Gany et. al, 312). A cross-sectional review study was conducted by Schwei, and others, in recent years. It was found that the awareness of the need for better language support services in health care has increased since 2003. However, the progress has been limited due to a small percentage of health care providers who have implemented services for LEP patients
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