What do you do when language barriers are a problem when you are caring for someone?

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working with cultural diverse clients and co workers

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Boy, that is a big challenge, isn't it? Especialy when working with the elderly and impaired folks. Many long term care facilities have staff who have not mastered English. Believe me, I am in favor of full employment for anyone who wants to work, but putting people with minimal English in contact with the elderly who may have impaired hearing, declining alertness, and general confusion is not helpful, in my opinion. When exploring nursing homes, when one guide proudly pointed out their aide-to-patient ratio I asked if all those aides spoke clear English. Oh, yes, she assured me, they all have to speak English. Although, she added as an afterthought, I can't really understand some of them myself.

The hospitals around here all offer to bring in a translator for non-English-speaking patients. They post signs with this offer in many languges. I remember being in an emergency room once when a patient didn't speak English and the staff was trying to determine if there was a family member to call and also trying to locate one of their translators.

People who work in culturally diverse areas or who have a client from a different culture need to learn about that culture in order to be senstive to different standards of modesty, family roles, etc.
thankyou for that and it makes it hard especially with different languages who are unable to speak english.. however it makes it easier if different communication is used eg. non verbal communication helps both to understand and its hard to get certain interpreters because their little people who do it . i havnt experienced and cultural people yet but i will soon hopefully. i believe also using simple words and basic vocabulary foreigners intend to pick up and using hand language as you speak with a simple yes or no awnser makes it easier to communicate.
I know what u all mean because when I take my wife to see a doctor other then hers is very hard to understand them??
Most towns and cities have free classes to teach english to people from other nations and it is too their advantage to learn to speak the language where they are living-people who came to our country years ago took pride in being in Amercia and learning the language.
This is a very real problem that I have not seen addressed in many places. My daugher in law is a linguist and teaches English as a Second Language. She tells me our region has the highest number of languages spoken of anywhere in the US. This diversity enriches our culture and I am pleased that so many immigrants find this a good place to make their new home.

BUT it is a very real problem in the long care facility setting. I hear a lot about it in my local caregivers support group. When there is a lnaguage barrier it is hard to ensure that the new employees understand all the rules and the protocol. Training is sparse enough, and then if you can't quite understand it all that makes it even harder to do the job correctly. And even if they know their jobs well and are loving, caring individuals, if they can't communicate well with the residents there are going to be problems.

I have coworkers for whom English is not their first language. It has taken me a while to get used to listening to them, but after a while I find it is not a problem. However, I don't think my mother or my husband, both with hearing impairments and some confusion, would be able to "get used to" heavy accents or unusual syntax.

I think this is a real problem. Since new immigrants (like many before them) often must start with low-paying jobs and since there are a lot of low-paying jobs in care facilities, this issue is going to be with us indefinitely, especially in metropolitan areas.
I agree with you, Austin. People who intend to live here should learn the official language, for their own sakes as well as a responsibility of residency.

But, what if Grandma only speaks Italian? It is too late to expect her to learn English now.

What if the entire family recently arrived from Somalia and only Son speaks clear English (so far) and his mother now has dementia?

What if this group of young men and women have taken English as a Second language or are taking it at nights while they work during the day? Their intentions are good but their language skills are limited and they speak with a heavy accent? I could interact with them in a resturant, for example, and make sure they understood what I ordered, but an elderly hard-of-hearing person with difficulty understanding even clear English instructions or explanations will be totally lost trying to interact with these people.

Yes, let us continue to encourage all our immigrants to learn English, and make classes available to them. In the meanwhile there is a very real language barrier problem in long term care facilities who employ non-native-English speakers in roles that interact with residents.

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