December 19, 2018
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TranslateEffective communication is one of the most important, but oftentimes undervalued pillars of successful healthcare practice. Ineffective communication may prevent some patients from getting the health care they need. Both verbal and non-verbal communication is important when dealing with migrants or aboriginals who do not speak or fully understand the English language.

Migrant Australians Facts

Data from the 2006 census revealed that more than 256,000 migrant Australians do not have a good understanding of the language, preventing them from effectively expressing themselves. More than 70% of migrants aged 55 years old and above are also incapable of expressing themselves in English. In-house home care might become problematic for these patients because of the language barrier.

Translating audio books and brochures

In-home nursing care provider, cites that the rich cultural diversity of Australia accounts for a variety of non-English speakers who may be hampered by language from seeking proper medical care. To address this issue, the company decided to translate their brochures and audio books into different languages.

Hiring a professional health care interpreter

A study reveals that providing non-English speakers with health care interpreters can be cost-effective. Their presence in hospitals can vastly speed up the treatment process for patients with little or no understanding of English. The study also shows that using interpreters may reduce the instance of follow-up visits.

Health care interpreters also increase patients’ compliance with out-patient visitations and medicine regimes. To cut the long story short, patients with little or no understanding of the English language are generally appreciative of their hospital experience when a health interpreter is provided.

There are other significant benefits other than the cost:

  • Reduced instances of medical errors
  • Improved patient understanding of his or her condition
  • Improved clinical success
  • Improved patient satisfaction
  • Improved access to a wider range of health services

Language should never prevent anyone from getting proper health care. That is why Australian health providers should consider improving their communication style and method to better serve those who have little or no understanding of the English language.

Statistics show that only a handful of health practitioners in Australia are trained to work with interpreters. Perhaps it is time for health care interpreters to become a standard in hospitals and other health care facilities.

Terohan Nula