Language services reduce barriers for patients
Language and cultural barriers can pose challenges for patients navigating and accessing health care.
In January 2022, the Language Services program was launched with an aim to reduce barriers for patients accessing and navigating the health care system by translating health information.
To guide the development of the program, VCH worked with partners from neighbourhood houses, S.U.C.C.E.S.S., MOSAIC, Immigrant Services Society of BC and the Provincial Health Services Authority to review the translation and interpretation practices throughout our region. The process resulted in the standardization of translation practices across VCH and informed the creation of a VCH interpretation and translation framework.
The top five requested translated languages by patients/clients at VCH are Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish and Vietnamese.
The program translated materials such as instructions on how, and when, to access emergency or urgent primary care, how to find a family physician or nurse practitioner, public health information (including heat warnings and other health alerts), pre-and post-surgery information, self-care and home support for seniors as well as an overview of health care services available to patients who are new to VCH.
Initial feedback has indicated that patients feel more informed when attending health care appointments and they have a stronger understanding of the resources and care options available to them. Translated health care information can save time and reduce stress as well as enhance the patient experience.
In the program’s first year, the Language Services team completed over 495 translations into 11 main languages including Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish, Vietnamese, Farsi, Arabic, Korean, Russian, Tagalog and Japanese.