Best Practice Summary of Interpretation Services

Best Practice Summary of Interpretation Services

1. There is a clear policy, and associated standards on language access for the organization

  • Interpreter services are provided free of charge to the patient
  • Interpreter services are provided a tall key points of contact
  • Interpreter services are available at all hours of operation
  • Training is required for interpreters used

2. Providers are required to obtain interpreter in cases where there is evidence of language barriers

  • Clear instructions for determining need are provided, along with procedures for contacting approved interpretation services

3. Providers are provided with training in working with interpreters

4. There are written guidelines for communicating via an interpreter

5. Only trained interpreters are used

  • Family members or friends are used only at request of patient
  • Use of overhead paging is forbidden or strongly discouraged
  • Bilingual staff members (other than interpreters employed by the institution) are used for interpretation only
    • If they have received training in interpretation
    • In clearly identified situations, or emergencies

6. Training for interpreters includes

  • Orientation to facilities and programs
  • Ethics (confidentiality and privacy of health information, informed consent, appropriate role of the interpreter)
  • Medical terminology and concepts
  • Interpreting skills

7. Training for interpreters is a minimum of 40 hours

8. Patients are provided with information on their rights to interpretation assistance

  • There is signage in languages of the community
  • Information on rights and services is available in languages of the community

9. Language access services report directly to senior management

10. There are coordinated records kept on 

  • Language of patients
  • #of interactions where an interpreter is needed
  • # of interactions where an interpreter is used
  • Type of interpreter used (e.g. hospital employed, family member, community worker)
  • Name of interpreter
  • Cases where problems occurred due to language barriers
  •  Cases where interpreter not available

11. Position descriptions for interpreters are in place

  • The position description recognizes the complexity of the interpreters role

12. An evaluation process for interpreters is in place

Reference : Bowen, Sarah (2004). “Best Practices Summary” in Language Barriers Within the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority : Evidence ans Implications, for Winnipeg Regional Health Autority, September 2004, p.36.

Best Pratice Summary – Interpretation Services