In a significant leap toward providing unparalleled healthcare services to its diverse community, Canada’s Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH) in Alexandria, Ontario, has announced the integration of interpreter services, including American Sign Language (ASL), through a partnership with LanguageLine Solutions.
The initiative reflects HGMH's dedication to delivering patient-centered care that transcends language barriers. By partnering with LanguageLine, the hospital is ensuring that language diversity is celebrated and does not hinder the path to quality healthcare for anyone in its community. This marks a significant milestone in HGMH's journey toward fostering an inclusive healthcare environment where every individual feels heard, understood, and cared for.
Alexandria is home to a growing immigrant population. According to the most recent Census, 13.1 percent of Alexandria's residents were born outside of Canada. The most common countries of origin for these immigrants were India and China.
Canada’s diversity continues to grow, as its immigration rate is 23.2 percent higher than in the United States. Today, immigrants represent over 21 percent of the total Canadian population. Over 200 ethnic origins were reported in the 2021 National Household Survey and 13 of those had surpassed the one million population mark.
Hôpital Glengarry’s language-access enhancement ensures that language is not a hurdle to effective communication between healthcare professionals, patients, and their families.
Understanding that language barriers can impede the delivery of optimal medical care, HGMH is committed to ensuring that every patient, regardless of their linguistic background, receives the care and support they need.
Through collaboration with LanguageLine and the University Health Network in Toronto, the hospital now seamlessly provides access to professional interpreters in over 240 languages, 24 hours a day, ensuring equitable access to healthcare services for all, including those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
Key features of interpreter services at HGMH through LanguageLine include:
- On-demand Access: Patients and healthcare providers now have the convenience of accessing interpreters 24/7. This allows for immediate assistance in emergency situations as well as during routine healthcare interactions.
- Highly Trained Interpreters: LanguageLine’s team of professional, certified interpreters possesses expertise in medical terminology and ethics, ensuring accurate and confidential communication. This expertise is crucial for effective healthcare interactions.
- Video Remote Interpretation (VRI): In addition to phone interpretation, HGMH now offers video remote interpretation, particularly vital for ASL users. VRI facilitates clear, visual communication, enhancing the overall understanding of medical information.
- Cultural Safety: LanguageLine’s interpreters are not only language experts but also culturally aware and sensitive. Recognizing the importance of cultural competence in healthcare interactions, they contribute to a more inclusive and respectful healthcare environment.
- Compliance with Regulatory Standards: HGMH places a high priority on compliance with personal health information regulations and other healthcare standards. The partnership with LanguageLine ensures the confidentiality and privacy of patient information.
Access to professional interpretation services is a crucial step toward achieving equitable healthcare delivery, enhancing patient satisfaction, and improving patient safety.
Patients should never face the concern of understanding their diagnosis, treatment options, or discharge instructions. With this new interpreter service, HGMH is fostering trust and open communication with all patients, irrespective of their language or communication needs.
Robert Alldred-Hughes, HGMH President & CEO, emphasized the hospital's commitment,
“As a healthcare organization, our primary goal is to provide the highest quality care to every patient who walks through our doors,” he said. “Language should never be a barrier to receiving the care they deserve. We are proud to offer comprehensive interpreter services, including ASL, to meet the diverse needs of our community.”
LanguageLine Can Help
LanguageLine is honored to work with the top hospital systems across the United States and Canada. We’d love to learn more about the challenges your hospital, medical office, or community health center may be facing, as well as the opportunities that lie within your organization. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation or request a quote.