RNs cannot deliver effective care if patient cannot be understood
Without the ability to effectively communicate with under-served minorities, healthy patient outcomes are in peril, say experts at the Pennsylvania Patient Authority. Their agency reported about 232 incidents over a six year period at Keystone State healthcare facilities involving accidents and near accidents that might have been prevented with video interpreters.
Risk-related incidents included patient falls from not understanding care instructions, unwanted circumcisions and surgeon/patient disconnects. In some cases, language barriers made it difficult to obtain patient consent, delaying treatment and jeopardizing outcomes.
Video interpretation services rely on a portable two-way video monitor system easily transported to the ER, bedside or visitor waiting area. At a cost of about $0.80 to $1.00 a minute, the caregiver or registered nurse simply selects a language and the system conferences in an interpreter live via satellite almost immediately.
For healthcare employers serving large urban communities, video interpretation systems are a godsend. They alleviate high costs associated with on-site interpreters and enable better patient care through improved communication with Limited English Proficient, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing patients.
For career nurses on the front lines, a video interpreter means they no longer have to wait for a live interpreter to arrive on-site. In as little as 60 seconds, registered nurses tap into a translation network of more than 150 languages, including American Sign Language.
Millions of previously uninsured foreign-born and disabled American citizens are soon to gain access to patient care in the face of healthcare reform. The flood gates to patient diversity will open and a deluge of non-English speaking citizens will engulf the healthcare system.
These same reform efforts require healthcare employers to ramp up patient safety, improve outcomes, reduce re-admissions and achieve “meaningful use.” None of which can be accomplished if healthcare employers don’t know what their patients are saying.
American Traveler is the nation’s leading travel nursing jobs and therapist staffing firm with opportunities for graduates, seasoned professionals and mid-career caregivers. Our healthcare staffing blog provides readers with information about current trends in nursing and therapy jobs staffing. To learn more about nurse job opportunities and staffing programs for healthcare providers, call 800-884-8788 today.