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Accessible Health Care: 4. What You Can Do in Advance Transcript

[Narrator is signing]

As Heather said, you can’t schedule an emergency to occur at a convenient time. But there are some things you can do to make things easier in an emergency situation.

[Text on screen: Understand your options]

You can start by understanding your options so you know what assistance you can request and what assistance the hospital or clinic is required to provide.

[Text on screen: Interpreter should arrive within two hours]

Under perfect circumstances, the clinic or hospital will contact a qualified interpreter who will arrive within two hours. 

You’ve probably noticed that the term “qualified interpreter” keeps coming up. It’s important to understand what that means when it comes to interpreting in a health care setting. 

[Heather Gilbert is signing]

[Text on screen: Right to a qualified interpreter]

You have the right to a qualified interpreter in a medical emergency. 

A qualified interpreter in this situation is someone who has special training in medical terminology and communicating complex information about a patient’s medical condition, treatment recommendations and what to do for treatment. 

It’s not hard to imagine why a skilled interpreter with special training is important. 

You don’t want someone who is only able to communicate in basic sign to be responsible for communicating important, technical information to you.

[Text on screen: Request a different interpreter]

If you don’t think the interpreter has the necessary skills or you find it difficult to communicate with the person, you should request a different interpreter. This can be difficult to do, especially if you’ve had trouble getting access to an interpreter in the first place! But, it’s your health and you have the right to fully understand what’s going on.

There are a few things you can do to make sure communication is clear and effective between you and the interpreter.

[Text on screen: 1. Test the interpreter’s basic skills]

First, engage in a basic conversation with the interpreter to make sure he or she understands your signing and that you can understand theirs. 

[Text on screen: 2. Assess ability to communicate medical information]

Second, assess the interpreter’s ability to communicate medical information. 

If the interpreter is only able to fingerspell the words but can’t explain their meaning, you may need a more highly trained interpreter. 

[Text on screen: 3. Ask to see the interpreter’s blue RID card]

If you’re questioning whether or not the interpreter is qualified to work in medical settings, it’s appropriate to ask to see their blue RID card. The RID card should say “certified” at the very minimum for medical situations. 

[Screen freezes and text appears: Note: Old RID cards are blue, current ones are white. Most interpreters do not carry the cards anymore. Find their name and certification on RID's website.]

If you don’t understand what the interpreter is telling you or if you don’t think the interpreter understands you, politely inform the physician or nurse that you and this interpreter are not communicating effectively and that you will need a replacement. You can also write a note that says the same thing. 

If they refuse to replace the interpreter, it is important to make this request in writing and get their refusal in writing, then keep the note. Repeat your request until another interpreter is provided. 

If you haven’t contacted an advocate yet, this would be a good time to do so!

[Narrator is signing and speaking]

[Text on screen: ODIO/VRI]

You also can check with your local hospital and urgent care clinic to find out if they use on-demand interpreting online – or ODIO. This can also be called VRI, or video remote interpreting. ODIO is a good alternative for clinics and hospitals in remote areas where access to qualified interpreters is more limited. 

Hospitals and clinics that provide ODIO or VRI can get in touch with a qualified interpreter within 15 minutes. You will then see the interpreter on a screen.

[Text on screen: Computer Assisted Real-time Transcription]

Another communications option that you may want to consider is Computer Assisted Real-time Transcription, or CART, captioning. 

This is a good choice for people who do not communicate in ASL. CART allows an operator to type what is said into a computer that displays the typed words as captions on a screen for the patient to read. 

Knowing reasonable options that you can request for emergency interpreting is one way you can prepare for a medical emergency.

[Text on screen: Things you can do in advance]

Here are some other things you can do in advance:

[Note; The original "option 1 is no longer an option since the program no longer exists. It has been removed from this video."] 

[Text on screen: 2. Find out who provides health care interpreting services]

Second, you should find out who provides health care interpreting services in your area and what special training they have.

[Text on screen: 3. Make sure your contacts understand you have the right to an interpreter]

Third, you want to make sure that your family members and emergency contacts understand that you have the right to have an interpreter so that they can advocate for you if you’re not in a position to advocate for yourself. 

[Text on screen: Visit your medical clinic]

Another way to prepare for an emergency situation is to meet with your health care providers in advance to discuss your interpreting needs and how they would typically respond to your need for communications access.

[Text on screen: Discuss your need for an interpreter]

Make an appointment with your medical clinic to discuss your need for an interpreter.

[Text on screen: Learn how they handle interpreting]

Learn how they handle interpreting for routine medical examinations and visits. 

[Text on screen: Ask about their experience]

Ask if they’ve cared for deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing patients in the past.

[Text on screen: Find out the resources they use to obtain a qualified interpreter]

Find out the resources they use to obtain a qualified interpreter for routine medical appointments and make sure they understand that difference between an interpreter and an interpreter who is trained to interpret in a health care setting.

The open enrollment period for your health insurance is a good time to check out medical providers in your area.

[Text on screen: Find out if they understand VRI]

[Text on screen: Understand the definition of a qualified ASL interpreter]

Also find out if they know about the latest technology like Video Remote Interpreting services and if they understand the difference between an ASL interpreter and a qualified ASL interpreter. 

[Text on screen: Schedule appointments at least two weeks in advance]

When it comes time to visit the doctor, be sure to schedule your appointment at least two weeks in advance and ask the scheduler to arrange for an interpreter.

Then call to confirm that the hospital or doctor’s office has followed through to get an interpreter.

[Text on screen: Contact DHHSD]

If you have difficulty obtaining interpreter services for routine medical appointments, contact the Division of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services for assistance.

[Text on screen: Urgent Care Clinic]

You also should pay a visit to the urgent care clinic that you’re likely to use in an emergency situation. 

It’s easier to discuss your rights to communications access before you arrive sick or in pain. 

[Text on screen: Make an appointment with the clinic director]

Make an appointment with the clinic director to discuss your need for an ASL interpreter. 

Use this time to learn how the staff is expected to respond to your request for an interpreter, what training they’ve had and who to contact if the people on duty don’t seem to know what to do.

[Text on screen: Learn if the clinic has set any communications access goals]

This is also a good time to learn if the clinic has set any goals for arranging communications access like an interpreter should arrive within two hours and if they’re aware of video remote interpreting, or VRI.

[Heather Gilbert is signing]

Urgent Care Clinics must treat you the same way they treat other patients, and cannot put you at the bottom of the list when you arrive just because you need an interpreter. Urgent Care Clinics have an obligation to provide timely interpreting services for you or your child.

[Rania Johnson is signing]

[Text on screen: Check out your local hospital]

You also should meet with a representative of your local hospital to learn about their procedures for arranging interpreters for deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing patients and make sure they understand their obligations to provide communications access. You will be in a stronger position if you join together with other members of your local deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing community and talk to your hospital.

[Text on screen: Name of person coordinating interpreter access] 

Use this as an opportunity to find out the name of the person responsible for coordinating interpreter access. You should request to meet with this person as soon as you arrive.

[Text on screen: Your communications needs]

[Text on screen: Interpreter resources]

You also should explain your communications needs and ask what resources they use, what training the interpreters have and the response time they expect.

[Text on screen: Chain of command]

This also is a good time to find out the chain of command in the emergency room and the name of the person you should talk to if your communications needs aren’t being met.

[Text on screen: Advocate on the hospital staff]

Finally, find out who can be your advocate on the hospital staff, such as the head nurse or a Patient Representative or Patient Advocate.

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