Lep Patient Communication

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Clear and effective communication between health care provider and patient is one of the most important pieces of receiving healthcare. Communication helps to develop trusting relationships, relay patient symptoms to the physician, develop a care plan, reduce errors, and ensure patient participation. Lack of adequate communication, such as with the Limited English Proficient (LEP) patient, can lead to medical errors, disparities, and diminished access of this population to needed healthcare (“Health Centers”, 2004). LEP is defined as “anyone above the age of five who reported speaking English less than ‘very well’” (Zong & Batalova, 2015).
Assessing the needs of the LEP population is a major concern in the United States. When speaking
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On the community/group level, cultural factors such as diet, spirituality, and beliefs about illness/health can all influence the health status of the population and how they seek healthcare. There are also factors of poor living conditions and poor quality of food based on socioeconomic status, which is usually lower in LEP communities (Powell, 2016).
Individual factors to look for in assessing the LEP patient can include stress related to potential immigration status, which can be higher in immigrants with a language barrier (Ding & Hargraves, 2009). Family and or social support, employment, financial status, and access to interpreter services can be other factors influencing health and access to healthcare (Derose, Escarce & Lurie 2007). According to the Robert Wood Johnson foundation (2014), the LEP population makes up 21.7% of the uninsured population, decreasing preventative or routine healthcare. Therefore, the patient’s insurance status needs to be assessed as
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This process begins with the patient’s first contact within the healthcare system. If this is within an outpatient area, the patient is assessed (often utilizing interpretation phone) for their primary language or the language they feel most comfortable receiving and giving information. If they are identified as LEP, it becomes part of the permanent record. Because of hospital policy, which is based upon Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the US Department of Health and Human Services, Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (C LAS) standards, the LEP population must be offered translation services during any interaction within the medical

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