Medical Sign Language Interpreters

Credentialed and experienced medical sign language interpreters for appointments, exams, surgeries, in-patient care, recovery, and more!

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Medical Sign Language Interpreting Service

Inclusive Communication Services aims to protect the rights of deaf people and provide professional and affordable sign language interpreting services across the United States. With our long history of pioneering equal-access and inclusion initiatives in the communities we serve, ICS has established itself as a reputable medical sign language interpreting and accommodation services authority for medical practices and facilities of all sizes and scopes.

If you’re looking for a medical interpreter program near NYC, look no further! We are here to help you get adequate medical care through innovative inclusion strategies!

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What is Medical Sign Language Interpreting?

Medical sign language interpreting refers to the professional practice of facilitating communication between a Deaf, Deaf-blind, or hard-of-hearing patient and non-signing medical professionals. Sign language interpreters use linguistic hand- and finger-shapes, body language, and facial expressions to convey spoken information in a complete and accurate signed message that is readily understood by the patient with hearing loss.

Inclusive Communication Services offers professional sign language interpreters who can assist medical professionals and practices in providing proper medical care by overseeing and facilitating communication between the medical team and patient.

Some of the commonly asked questions about sign language interpreting are;

Why are medical interpreters important?

Imagine going to a foreign country for vacation and having an unexpected medical issue that requires instant attention. You go to the hospital where doctors and nurses are eager to help, but they all speak a foreign language you’re unfamiliar with. You can’t explain your symptoms accurately, making it extremely challenging to get proper medical care. Rather than sitting in agony, you can request a proficient medical interpreter to bridge this communication gap.

Hundreds of thousands of Deaf, Deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing individuals struggle with this exact situation – even in their own country! Individuals with hearing loss often have to make multiple phone calls and request appoints far in advance in order to get proper medical care just because they do not use spoken English as their primary language. This is not what equal-access and inclusion looks like. Expert medical interpreters play a key role to ensuring health care institutions respect and properly accommodate the needs of patients with hearing loss.

A professional medical interpreter enhances compliance and understanding of each patient’s experience throughout their healthcare journey while reducing the risks of miscommunications and misdiagnosis.

Should hospitals and medical facilities have interpreters?

Some hospitals opt to partner with a local accommodations agency to provide as-needed interpreting services while other, larger practices hire staff interpreters for on-going coverage. While many medical facilities offer medical sign language interpretation through virtual remote interpreting (VRI) services, this communication solution is not ideal and should only be used as a temporary accommodation while medical professionals await an in-person interpreter to arrive. Regardless of the approach a hospital or medical practice opts to take, it is essential to have an accommodations plan in place and to communicate this plan with hospital personnel to ensure patients receive necessary accommodation services in an efficient manner.

Are medical interpreters required by law?

Yes! Multiple local, state, and federal laws, in addition to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), mandate that doctors and medical institutions provide professional medical interpreters to their patients upon reasonable request.

Who Benefits from Medical Sign Language Interpreting?

Medical sign language interpreting ensures that the language barrier between medical staff and patients do not hinder the team in providing quality healthcare.

• Deaf, Deaf-blind, & Hard-of-Hearing Patients

Many Deaf, Deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing patients only use American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary means of communication. It is crucial that healthcare facilities provide these patient populations with qualified sign language interpretation services to ensure open and collaborative communication with the patient, effectively diagnose the patient, and to avoid costly lawsuits or public embarrassment.

• Deaf, Deaf-blind, & Hard-of-Hearing Family Members

It is important to keep in mind that the Americans with Disabilities Act also protects the right of family members with hearing loss to request adequate accommodation in order to attend their child, parent, or relative’s healthcare appointment. Parents and guardians deserve to be fully informed and aware of their child’s health, medications, and diagnoses. To deprive a relative of adequate accommodation services is not only unlawful and unethical, but it also poses a serious risk and liability to the healthcare practice.

• Medical Professionals

Interpreting is a two-way street. That is to say, as much as the medical sign language interpreter is present to support the communication of the Deaf, Deaf-blind, or hard-of-hearing patient or family member, they are equally committed to facilitating the medical team’s communication, understanding, and cultural knowledge. Interpreters do not only interpret between medical staff and patients but they also educate on cultural nuances and appropriate etiquette as relates to Deaf culture.

Considering all the combined benefits, a professional interpreter can significantly improve clinical outcomes by supporting the quality of communication and care for patients with hearing loss.

Why Choose Inclusive Communication Services for Medical Sign Language Interpreting Services?

• Guaranteed Fluency

As a leading medical sign language interpreting service provider, ICS is determined to provide our clients with the best available accommodation services. Our qualified medical interpreters are highly trained and skilled in the professional practice of interpreting, are fluent in both ASL (American Sign Language) and English, and are culturally competent as a member of the Deaf community. ICS is capable of providing quality, equal-access accommodations for patients with hearing loss that promote the patient’s inclusion in their personal or familial healthcare plan.

• Medical Terminology

ICS interpreters are specially-trained and familiar with medical terminology, diagnoses, medications, and procedures and can communicate these concepts in an effective manner that is readily understood by the Deaf or hard-of-hearing patient. Our qualified medical interpreters exercise due diligence in researching each appointment’s scope and requirements to ensure their proper fit and aptitudes for the setting. Such preliminary considerations ensures ICS sends the most ideally-qualified interpreter for every appointment – always prioritizing consistency in interpreters when possible.

• Accommodating & Agile

Our specially trained medical interpreters are flexible and capable of adapting to highly-sensitive interpreting environments, such as operating rooms and ICU’s. Our interpreters know how to avoid obstructing the work of medical professionals and have the necessary medical experience to identify the need for PPE or for the interpreter to reposition themselves in a place that is comfortable and convenient for the patient’s eyesight.

• Cultural Awareness

Our professional medical interpreters not only have extensive understanding of Deaf culture, but they also have an experienced understanding of medical culture – where doctors operate on a busy, often stressful schedule and can only interact with patients for a few minutes, despite Deaf culture valuing long, elaborate “hellos” and “goodbyes.” This understanding helps our interpreters to facilitate cultural understandings while still honoring and meeting the communication goals of everyone involved.

Medical interpreters aim to speak upfront to all parties, which provides an opportunity for cultural education while addressing any barriers to ensuring an accurate diagnosis. ICS medical sign language interpreters provide effective cultural mediation that leads to positive healthcare outcomes and helps establish a strong relationship between patients and healthcare professionals.

• Ethical Boundaries

Our expert medical interpreters follow the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) Code of Professional Conduct (CPC) and HIPPA Guidelines. They are self-aware of their competencies and aptitudes and prepared to pass on an assignment for which they foresee an ethical conflict. Our interpreters also value the role and collaboration of CDIs (Certified Deaf interpreters) and are prepared to work as a team with CDIs to provide even more effective communication. Most importantly, ICS medical interpreters are required to maintain the confidentiality of all information to which they are privy before, during, and after their services – including all PII associated with the patient.

Our medical interpreters adhere to strict security and confidentiality standards and recognize the autonomy of Deaf, Deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing individuals.

• Advocacy

In America, many Deaf people struggle to get adequate healthcare services and accommodations, despite the discrimination laws in place to otherwise prevent this. Inclusive Communication Services aims to advocate of behalf of Deaf patients for their right to fully participate in their healthcare planning, eve when the Deaf patient might be unable to do so themselves. This can entail simple moments of education, such as explaining why a Deaf individual may not note their deafness as a disability, to more complicated discussions such as explaining the limitations of on-demand interpreting services, such as Video Relay Interpreters (VRI).

• Continuous Professional Development

Inclusive Communication Services requires its interpreters to commit to continued professional development for the duration of their career. As new technologies, procedures, terminologies, and medications are continually unfolding, ICS interpreters continuously participate in professional development to ensure their services meet the evolving needs of the medical field.

Final Thoughts

Deaf, Deaf-blind, late-deafened, and hard-of-hearing patients deserve quality medical care, regardless of the added cost or burden of providing accommodation services. Medical sign language interpreters are qualified professionals capable of bridging the communication gap between patients with hearing loss and medical professionals to ensure routine checkups to emergency services are equally-accessible and inclusive. Inclusive Communication Services is committed to providing quality accommodation services that meet the language and cultural needs of patients and their healthcare provider to promote positive, collaborative, and holistic healthcare outcomes.

Inclusion starts here; inclusion starts with you!

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