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The Vital Importance of Interpretation Services in The United States:

In a review regarding the impact of medical interpretation services on the quality of healthcare, Glenn Flores wrote, “Five database searches yielded 2,640 citations and a final database of 36 articles, after applying exclusion criteria. Multiple studies document that quality of care is compromised when LEP patients need but do not get interpreters. LEP patients’ quality of care is inferior, and more interpreter errors occur with untrained ad hoc interpreters. Inadequate interpreter services can have serious consequences for patients with mental disorders. Trained professional interpreters and bilingual health care providers positively affect LEP patients’ satisfaction, quality of care, and outcomes. Evidence suggests that optimal communication, patient satisfaction, and outcomes and the fewest interpreter errors occur when LEP patients have access to trained professional interpreters or bilingual providers.”

Interpretation services are an invaluable resource for limited English proficient (LEP) individuals living in the United States. They serve as a link that allow communication to be facilitated when language barriers are present. As the US population rapidly expands and diversifies, the need for interpretation services in healthcare settings will continue to be in high demand. Professional medical interpretation services play a vital role in diagnosing, treating and caring for LEP patients. Communication is one of the most important aspects in healthcare, how can patients be cared for if providers don’t understand the language they speak.

Professional Language Interpretation and Inpatient Length of Stay and Readmission Rates:

Objective:

To investigate differences among patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) in their length of stay (LOS) and 30-day readmission rate associated with their receiving professional interpretation at admission or discharge.

How Data was Collected:

We analyzed the rates of interpretation at admission and discharge of all LEP patients admitted to a tertiary care hospital over a three-year period. We calculated length of stay in days and as log of LOS. We also examined 30-day readmission. Using multivariable regression models, we explored differences among patients who received interpretation at admission, discharge, or both, controlling for patient characteristics, including age, illness severity, language, and gender.

Findings:

Of the 3,071 patients included in the study, 39 % received language interpretation on both admission and discharge date. Patients who did not receive professional interpretation at admission or both admission/discharge had an increase in their LOS of between 0.75 and 1.47 days, compared to patients who had an interpreter on both day of admission and discharge (P < 0.02). Patients receiving interpretation at admission and/or discharge were less likely than patients receiving no interpretation to be readmitted with 30 days. The length of a hospital stay for LEP patients was significantly longer when professional interpreters were not used at admission or both admission/discharge.

Interpretation Services Provide Clarity, Improve Patient Care, Promote Understanding and Reduce Stress:

When a patient is provided with interpretation services the engagement between the patient and the provider is clear and concise. Interpretation services eliminate the risk of misunderstandings that can be dangerous, increase a patient’s stay or potentially be life threatening when language barriers are faced in healthcare settings. A single misunderstood word can have major consequences, every interaction must be completely accurate and transparent in order for proper healthcare to be provided. When a qualified and experienced medical interpreter is utilized, it reduces the risks of misunderstandings and misdiagnosis. Interpretation services reduce stress and worry through facilitating communication which promotes and improves LEP patient care regardless of the language barrier.

Interpretation Services Allow LEP Patients Comfort and Ease of Mind:

Interpreters allow LEP patients the ability to express themselves, tell the doctors and nurses what’s going on and also allows them to understand the information being provided. When patients understand what’s going on it creates an ease, comfort and acceptance of the situation at hand. If a patient is comfortable with the situation is creates better patient-provider relationships, optimal patient care as well as positive outcomes in regards to the LEP patients health. When interpretation services are provided there is an enhancement in engagement and a vast improvement in LEP patient outcome.

Niki’s Int’l Ltd. is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise with 20 years of language service experience. A global network of highly skilled interpreters and translators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for on-site, telephonic and video remote interpretation services. Our linguists are available in over 350 languages and dialects, and our network includes certified interpreters and translators. Our work is guaranteed with a $1 Million Errors & Omissions policy, so that you can be confident that your project will be completed with the highest level of quality and professionalism within the field. For more information contact us at 1-877-567-8449 or visit our website at www.nilservices.com.

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