Health-care providers working to combat language barriers

For health care providers serving culturally diverse patient populations, one of the biggest impediments is lack of resources in appropriate languages, according to a recent national report.

But local hospitals are bringing down the language barrier in a number of ways, including using interpreters, bilingual staffers, training programs and language lines.

“It’s difficult for patients who come from foreign countries to work their way through a system when they don’t understand the language and the health system,” said Mariam Merced, director of community health promotions at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. “There is a cultural barrier and language barrier, so finding people they can communicate with in their own language puts them at ease and makes the process better for them and the provider.”

 

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