Anne Greenall is undergoing an asthma screening; interacting with a respiratory therapist, despite the fact she can’t hear a thing. She doesn’t have to. An interpreter is bridging the gap.
“It helps me a lot,” says Greenall.
“I’m able to communicate effectively with hearing people,” says Jody Belcher, certified interpreter with Lee Memorial Health System.
The Americans with disabilities act requires hospitals to provide effective communication for the hearing impaired in all health care settings. It doesn’t mandate a method, but computers can’t compete.
“Of course there’s a lot of technologies out there, but you cannot eliminate the face-to-face,” says Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates, language services supervisor with Lee Memorial Health System.
“It sets the patient at ease and it sets the patient care provider at ease, because the Lee Memorial patient care team really wants to make sure the patient leaves fully understanding their care,” says Oloruntola-Coates.
Communication being a two-way street, the translating works both ways. Giving health information to the patient but also getting feedback in return. In that way, doctors and health professionals can hear the patients’ questions and concerns.
“We consider all the people we work with our deaf consumers. When we come into a situation, hearing people are also people that we’re interpreting for,” says Belcher.
Greenall is all smiles at the end of her appointment. A potentially stressful situation is translated to a pleasant experience.