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Declaring Our 'Why'

Posted by Simon Yoxon-Grant on October 16, 2018

Why?

When you do something every day, you tend to lose perspective from time to time. It’s the nature of work that we get so close to what we do that we sometimes forget why we’re doing it.

Three recent news items have refreshed our perspective and reminded us of our “why.” They prompt us to remember that what we do each day is actually pretty remarkable.

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Eight Steps Medicare Plans Can Take to Enroll More Limited-English Speakers

Posted by Mike McMahon on October 1, 2018

This year’s open-enrollment period for Medicare will run from October 15 through December 7. Studies show that a large number of Medicare enrollees are considered limited English proficient (LEP), meaning they speak English “less than very well” and are entitled to assistance.

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Language Training for Medical Staff Can Keep Health Care from Getting Lost in Translation

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on September 13, 2018

A non-English-speaking mother-to-be arrives at a hospital to give birth, unaware that her pregnancy is high-risk. The clinic where she had her pre-natal appointments did not use professional interpreters. Instead the clinic relied on the serious news being conveyed by the woman’s sister-in-law, who did not have the heart to explain the diagnosis. The woman is told at the hospital that her child will not make it.

A 9-year-old Vietnamese girl arrives at the emergency room with what appears to be a severe stomach flu. The girls’ parents do not speak English. Instead of using a professional interpreter, hospital staff instead speaks only to the girl and her 16-year-old brother about her prescription, sending them home with instructions that the girl should return if she experiences specific side effects. The girl ends up having a negative reaction to the drug. She suffers a heart attack and dies.

These real-life outcomes seem as if they should have happened in days gone by. Sadly, these events took place recently. Even worse, they are not uncommon despite readily available on-demand language services.

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Emergency Management Plans Should Incorporate Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Citizens

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on September 11, 2018

The imminent landfall of Hurricane Florence tells us that we are in the midst of a time of year that has become known as “hurricane season.” Sadly, it is also a period when we are reminded that the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing are sometimes minimized and even forgotten during an emergency.

Approximately 35 million Americans are hearing impaired. It has been well documented that training designed to help communicate with this community during a disaster is rare, and frequently lacks standardization or integration into a formal emergency management plan.

All too often, crucial information is delivered infrequently, late, and is often missing critical facts – if it is delivered at all. These dangerous communication gaps leave the Deaf and Hard of Hearing with an incomplete understanding of what is happening, when it will happen, and what steps they are expected to take.

What can your community do to better communicate with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing when faced with an emergency?

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Language Assistance Must be a Priority During Emergency Response

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on September 10, 2018

Language access should be a key component of every disaster plan, as roughly one in eight United States residents is limited-English proficient (LEP). Unfortunately, caring for the needs of LEP populations in the face of an emergency is not always the priority it should be. If LEP individuals are not able to access disaster information in a language they can understand, the consequences can be deadly.

A disaster plan typically incorporates three phases: preparedness, response, and recovery.

Emergency response is foremost on our minds as Hurricane Florence steers toward land. Today we will focus on effectively managing the communication of information about sheltering, evacuation, transportation, and health care before and during an emergency to LEP individuals.

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