Certification and Experience
Sign Language Resources, Inc. has a large number of certified and medically trained nterpeters who specialize in medical work. Not only are they keenly interested in this genre of Sign Language interpreting, but have sought specific training in medical terminology and procedures in order to perform optimally when Deaf patients and professionals in the medical world need to converse with each other.
There are over 28 million deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the United States. Many of them will need hospital, medical, or emergency care from time to time. The anxiety associated with this experience quite profound.
A hearing person can only imagine the distress produced by the soundless images of the emergency room, operating room, recovery room, testing laboratories, medical equipment, and medical personnel in a hurry. Even more apprehension is generated for the deaf and hard of hearing by their fears of being descriminated against, isolated, misunderstood, and failing to understand questions and instructions. The concern that they will receive the wrong treatment is great. To really understand the difficulty, imagine yourself in another country, where you have only a rudimentary understanding of the language, and experience a medical emergency. Only an interpreter who can converse in your native language would help alleviate the anxiety that would naturally overcome you.
Today, medical and hospital personnel all possess the medical ability to alleviate the kinds of problems encountered by the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in medical situations and to deliver effective, quality care to them. Increased awareness, preventive actions, and simple considerations will ease many of the fears and apprehensions that accompany medical and emergency services for those who cannot hear your questions and instructions, or those who may not be able to articulate their issue or its cause.
Access to Sign Language interpreters is the medical community's most effective line of communication. Establishing this mode of communication will help facilitate a much more accurate and quicker evaluation of a Deaf or Hard of Hearing patient.
In addition to Sign Language and an interpreter, patients can, or may, use any one of these various methods of communication with medical staff at times in between interpreter assisted appointments or shifts:
Communication StrategiesThe technological world of electronic medical records is quickly becoming the norm in doctors'offices, hospitals, and medical facilities. Therefore, Deaf or hard-of-hearing patients are faced with medical personnel looking at computer screens and keyboards, and are now experiencing even less face-to-face communication and limited eye contact than before. To improve interpersonal communication between medical personnel and deaf and hard-of-hearing patients, first hire a certified Sign Language interpreter, and then in addition, here is a list of very important communication strategies:
Specific Medical ConsiderationsDue to unintentional communication barriers, the Deaf, and Hard of Hearing often need more support and explanation than is required for other patients. If you are in the medical profession or are tending to a Deaf person in any medical situation, keep the following suggestions in mind: