For patients who speak or prefer a language other than English, Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) has free audio and video interpreter services readily available to make sure clear communication occurs between these patients and their care teams.
PCRMC is partnering with LanguageLine Solutions to provide interpreter services for patients who speak foreign languages or patients who have hearing or speech difficulties. PCRMC began using the LanguageLine service on July 2, 2018.
This service offers interpreters for more than 200 languages, including American Sign Language (ASL). Live interpreters who are native speakers of several foreign languages are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
While family members may be present and want to help interpret, the professional LanguageLine interpreters are familiar with medical terms and can easily and objectively explain diagnostic, treatment and care information to patients.
“We’ve had interpreter services for many years at PCRMC,” says Kimberly Williams, MSN, RN, CNL, director of Case Management at PCRMC.
Interpreters helped patients in person or over the phone, but with LanguageLine, patients can see the interpreter they are speaking with in real time.
Before LanguageLine, interpreters often had to travel in person to help a patient at PCRMC, mainly with ASL. Time is crucial, especially in emergencies, so being able to connect to an interpreter quickly via a video chat will save time, Williams says.
With LanguageLine InSight video interpreting, patients with hearing or speech impairments can speak directly to an interpreter within minutes.
“The LanguageLine service will improve the patient experience and better serve our community,” Williams says. “In addition, through the interpreters, providers and nurses can better understand their patients concerns, symptoms and needs.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 6.4% of Phelps County residents speak a language other than English at home. The most common foreign languages spoken in Phelps County are Chinese, Arabic and Spanish. Compared to other places, Phelps County also has a relative high number of Thai speakers.
The LanguageLine interpreter service is available on iPads and tablets throughout the PCRMC organization and at all outlying clinics in the communities PCRMC serves. The service also is offered in PCRMC ambulances.
PCRMC staff are trained to help identify patients who need interpreter services, but patients and their families also can request an interpreter.
Williams says the interpreter services are easy to use. Through LanguageLine, PCRMC staff and patients can talk to interpreters by audio or video feed, or both, similar to Skype or FaceTime. Many of the iPads have TruSound cases that are designed to make the sound louder.
LanguageLine also offers a notepad feature for written communication, such as explaining medical records and consent requests.
“This service will greatly improve patient satisfaction and enhance the safety and quality care of patients at PCRMC,” Williams says. “Working with live interpreters will help ensure that patients who are non-native English speakers or who communicate by sign language are receiving the most accurate information while receiving care at PCRMC.”
For more information on interpreter services at PCRMC, please visit pcrmc.com.