What is the legal basis for providing sign language interpreters in health care settings?
The Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101, et seq. (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 29 U.S.C. §794 et seq., and any state laws which apply, impose requirements on various public and private facilities, including most health care offices and hospitals. These laws prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including depriving them of the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of any place of public accommodation.
How do I know a sign language interpreter will be needed?
The patient, family member or companion, who is deaf, may request an interpreter, or when the health care provider becomes aware that the consumer(s) is deaf, an interpreter can be contracted.
What areas of health care may require the use of a sign language interpreter?
Sign language interpreters are necessary in any situation in which the information to be exchanged requires effective communication. This will include but is not limited to:
• Taking a patient's medical history
• Giving diagnoses
• Performing medical procedures
• Explaining treatment planning
• Explaining medicine prescription and regimen
• Providing patient education or counseling
• Describing discharge and follow up plans
• Admitting to emergency departments/urgent care