U.S. Department of Justice ADA bulletin: Effective Communication

The U.S. Department of Justice routinely publishes consumer information documents on the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The linked document here describes the multiple ways in which agencies and industries might better serve consumers who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind or Visually-Impaired.

Download the DOJ Document

Deaf Hospice Education Project

deaf-hospiceThe Deaf Hospice Education Project “serves as a resource for hospice information. DHEP helps volunteers connect with hospice services so that services are provided quicker. DHEP also works to connect the Deaf community with hospices for better access to information.”

Check out this resource.

Finding an Interpreter in Minnesota

Minnesota’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division maintains a web site which assists people and agencies in locating interpreters. The site is designed to be ” valuable resource for service providers, interpreters and consumers looking for information about sign language interpreting in Minnesota.”

Check out this resource at interpreterreferral.org.

HCIN Video: Qualified Interpreting for Quality Health Care


The Value of Trained Interpretation

A Training Video for Clinical Staff on How to Work with Interpreters created by the Health Care Interpreter Network in California.

Check out other video resources from HCIN.

ADA: Communicating with People who are Deaf/HH in Hospital Settings

People who are deaf or hard of hearing use a variety of ways to communicate. Some rely on sign language interpreters or assistive listening devices; some rely primarily on written messages. Many can speak even though they cannot hear. The method of communication and the services or aids the hospital must provide will vary depending upon the abilities of the person who is deaf or hard of hearing and on the complexity and nature of the communications that are required. Effective communication is particularly critical in health care settings where miscommunication may lead to misdiagnosis and improper or delayed medical treatment.

Read more on the ADA site.

Health Care Careers for DHH Community

Charge to the Task Force on Health Care Careers for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Community

Our country has just completed a successful effort to broaden and reform our national health care system.

One of the major challenges now facing us in fulfilling the demands of this recently passed legislation is the critical shortage of health care specialists at all levels of training to care for the citizens of our nation.

This challenge coincides with another, much lesser known serious challenge; the limited opportunities for qualified deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in this country to pursue careers in health care. Factors underlying this problem include:

  • Limited educational opportunities,
  • Widely held perceptions among the general population that health care careers are not appropriate for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, and
  • An insufficient number of deaf and hard-of-hearing health care professionals currently “at the table as insiders” to advocate for the needs and promise of people with hearing loss.

Read more at: http://www.rit.edu/ntid/hccd/

New Healthcare Resources from Minnesota

Video Series on Healthcare Access from MNCDHH

Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans Premieres New Video Series on How to Get Health Care Communications Access in Minnesota

 From an announcement by MNCDHH

New Video Guide to Health Care Communications Access (Accessible Video Series)

Are you Deaf, DeafBlind, or Hard of Hearing and live in Minnesota? Learn what to do in different health care situations, including medical emergencies, and how to make sure that you get the communications access (interpreters, CART, auxiliary aids) that you need.

Visit our new webpage on Health Care Communications Access for the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Community in Minnesota.

Watch our Health Care Communications Access video series, which provides a guide to topics such as what your rights are, where you can go for help, what you can do in advance, what you should do in medical emergencies, and what to do if you don’t get the assistance you need.

Introductory Video

This video series is made accessible through American Sign Language (ASL), open captions, voiceovers, and Microsoft Word transcripts of audio content with video descriptions included.

This video series was inspired by the past and current struggles of deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing medical and health care patients to obtain effective communications access. It is MNCDHH’s hope that this will be a valuable resource for deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing people in Minnesota, their family, friends, and supporters, and medical and health care providers who serve them.

View Video Series

Seeing Patients: A Book Review

Book coverSeeing Patients:
Unconscious Bias in Health Care

Augustus A. White III, M.D. With David Chanoff

Dr. White is a professor of medical education and orthopedic surgery at the Harvard Medical School.  He is also considered one of the leading orthopedic experts in spinal care.  However, some of his most important contributions in medicine have been the result of his work outside the operating theater.  After growing up in the segregated South during the 1950s, Dr. White has been an advocate for increasing the number of ethnic minorities who enter the specialties of surgery and orthopedics.  He has also devoted his time to raising awareness about biases in medical treatment.

Read Review See Publisher’s web site.

A Case for Trained Medical Interpreters

Dr. Alice Chen, a physician in San Francisco who speaks three languages (Mandarin, Spanish, and English) relates an experience of working with an Arabic-speaking patient.   It is an excellent commentary from a physician about how having medically trained interpreters can really make a difference in patient care.

Click here to read the commentary.

Helpful Links for Providers

Here are a series of links that have useful information for providers in considering the rights of patients and responsibilities for communication access in providing care.