Language Barriers In Health Care

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Language Barriers can mean many things in health care. The basic definition of a general language barrier is as follows, “A conceptual barrier to effective communication, that occurs when people who speak different languages attempt to communicate with each other” (Wordnik, n.d.). While this definition stands true in health care, language barriers can also mean another thing like effective communication not used properly or not being able to understand a doctor because of their use of medical terminology. Language Barriers influence every patient-physician encounter. Communicating without an interpreter, communicating with an interpreter and cultural competency are some obstacles that are faced frequently in the health care industry and effects…show more content…
This makes communication very difficult between patients and physicians. While a qualified medical interpreter should always be used when necessary, there are other ways to communicate when one is not accessible. Family members or close friends are often the first pick. While these people mean well and can generally interpret accurately and without bias, most likely they do not speak fluent English themselves and most do not fully understand medical terminology. Young family members should not be used especially when involving devastating news. Also, family members do not always interpret everything the patient says and may tend to answer for the patient rather than actually interpreting. This causes misleading information and an inaccurate evaluation. Other people used for interpreting can be a telephone interpretation service, or a bilingual co-worker. While these options may not be the best over a professionally trained medical interpreter, they will work for emergency situations and are better than using a family member because they better understand medical terminology. (Luckman,…show more content…
Research has shown that minorities have difficulty getting suitable, timely, high quality care because of language barriers. Most minorities may have different point of view on health and medical care. They also may hold different expectations about diagnosis and treatment. Achieving cultural competency in the health care industry will make communicating easier and help to dissipate these barriers. (Betancourt, Green, & Carrillo,

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