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The use of interpreter in healthcare: Perspectives of individuals, healthcare staff and families
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health, Social Work and Behavioural Sciences, School of Health and Caring Sciences.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis focuses on the use of interpreters in Swedish healthcare. The overall aim was to explore how individuals, healthcare professionals and family members experience and perceive the use of interpreters in healthcare.

The study design was explorative and descriptive. The thesis included Serbo-Croatian(Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian)speaking individuals(n=17), healthcare professionals(n=24), official documents(n=60)and family members(n=10)of individuals using interpreters in healthcare. Individual interviews, written descriptions, review of official documents in the form of incident reports from a single case study and focus group interviews were used to collect data. Data were analyzed using phenomenography, qualitative content analysis and qualitative data analysis of focus group interviews.

The overall finding from all perspectives was the wish to have a qualified interpreter whose role was as a communication aid but also as a practical and informative guide in healthcare. The perception of a qualified interpreter was someone highly skilled in medical terminology, Swedish and individuals’ native language with ability to adapt to different dialects, wearing non-provocative and neutral clothes, of the same gender, with a professional attitude and preferably in personal contact through face-to-face interaction. Besides being a communication aid, the interpreter was perceived as having an important role in helping individuals to find the right way to and within the healthcare system because foreign-born individuals were unable to understand information in healthcare. Another aspect was to have a well-developed organization with good cooperation between the parties involved in the interpretation situation, such as patients, interpreter, interpreter agency, family members and healthcare professionals to offer a good interpretation situation.

In conclusion, the use of an interpreter was determined by individual and healthcare situational factors. Individualized holistic healthcare can be achieved by offering and using high-quality interpreters and cooperation within a well-developed interpreter organization.

 

Keywords: communication, healthcare service, patient-safe quality care, qualitative data collection, qualitative data analysis, users’ perceptions/experiences, utilization of interpreters.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö, Kalmar: Linnaeus University Press , 2011. , p. 62
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations ; 64/2011
Keyword [en]
communication, healthare service, patient-safe quality care, qualitative data collection, qualitative data analysis, users' perceptions/experiences, utilization of interpreters
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Health and Caring Sciences, Caring Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-14418ISBN: 978-91-86983-04-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-14418DiVA: diva2:444194
Public defence
2011-10-21, Weber, Hus K, Växjö, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Available from: 2011-10-05 Created: 2011-09-28 Last updated: 2012-01-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Healthcare staffs perceptions of using interpreters:  a qualitative study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Healthcare staffs perceptions of using interpreters:  a qualitative study
2010 (English)In: Primary Health Care Research and Development, ISSN 1463-4236, E-ISSN 1477-1128, Vol. 11, no 3, p. 260-270Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim: To describe how healthcare professionals experience and perceive the use of interpreters in their contacts with patients with whom they do not share a common language.

Methods: An explorative descriptive study. The study was conducted in different healthcare settings in Sweden and included 24 healthcare staff, of whom 11 were physicians, 9 nurses, 2 physiotherapists and 2 assistant nurses. Data were generated through written descriptions of the use of interpreters in healthcare and  analysed using qualitative content analysis.

Findings: Two main categories emerged: 1) aspects related to the interpreter and 2) organizational aspects. It was shown that having a face-to-face, professional, trained interpreter, with a good knowledge of both languages and of medical terminology, translating literally and objectively, was perceived positively. The organizational aspects that affected the perception were functioning or non-functioning technical equipment, calm in the interpretation environment, documentation of the patients’ language ability, respect for the appointed time, and the level of availability and service provided by the interpreter agency.

Conclusion: It is important to develop a well-functioning interpreter organization that offers trained interpreters with a professional attitude to improve and ensure cost-effective and high-quality encounters and care.

Keyword
Interpreters, utilisation, health care, case study, Sweden
National Category
Nursing
Research subject
Health and Caring Sciences, Caring Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-9503 (URN)10.1017/S146342361000006X (DOI)2-s2.0-85011463082 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2010-11-29 Created: 2010-11-27 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. Problems and consequences in the use of professional interpreters: qualitative analysis of incidents from primary healthcare.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Problems and consequences in the use of professional interpreters: qualitative analysis of incidents from primary healthcare.
2011 (English)In: Nursing Inquiry, ISSN 1320-7881, E-ISSN 1440-1800, Vol. 18, no 3, p. 253-261Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim was to explore what probklems were reported by healthcare straff in primary healthcare concerning the use of interpreters and what consequences that might lead to. A single-case study of a real life situation was implemented by analysing 60 incident reports written by different health care professionals. Qualitative content analysis was applied. The results showed that the main problems were related to language in terms of lack of available interpreters in a particular language, and to organisational routines with difficulties in availability of interpreters and access to the interpreter agency. The consequences reported were incorrect use of time and resources, with increased workload and thus delayed treatment. Other consequences were limited possibilities to communicate and consultations carried out without a professional interpreter and instead using family members.

Keyword
communication barriers, incident reports, interpreter service, patient-safe quality care, qualitative content analysis.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Health and Caring Sciences, Caring Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-16223 (URN)10.1111/j.1440-1800.2011.00542.x (DOI)2-s2.0-79960753364 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2011-12-18 Created: 2011-12-18 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
3. Migrants' perceptions of using interpreters in health care
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Migrants' perceptions of using interpreters in health care
2009 (English)In: International Nursing Review, ISSN 0020-8132, E-ISSN 1466-7657, Vol. 56, no 4, p. 461-469Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Nursing
Research subject
Health and Caring Sciences, Caring Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:vxu:diva-7043 (URN)10.1111/j.1466-7657.2009.00738.x (DOI)
Available from: 2010-02-09 Created: 2010-02-09 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
4. Family members’ experiences of the use of interpreters in healthcare
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Family members’ experiences of the use of interpreters in healthcare
2014 (English)In: Primary Health Care Research and Development, ISSN 1463-4236, E-ISSN 1477-1128, Vol. 15, no 2, p. 156-169Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim The aim was to explore adults’ experiences of their family members’ use of interpreters in health-care encounters.

Background Language barriers are a major hindrance for migrants to receive appropriate healthcare. In a foreign country, family members often need support in care of migrant patients. No previous studies focusing on adult family members’ experiences of the use of interpreters in healthcare have been found.

Method A purposive sample of 10 adult family members with experiences of the use of interpreters in health-care encounters. Data were collected between May and September 2009 by focus-group interviews and analysed with qualitative analysis according to a method described for focus groups.

Findings Three categories emerged from the analysis: (1) Experiences of the use of professional interpreters, (2) Experiences of being used as an interpreter and (3) Experiences of what needs to be improved when using interpreters. The main findings showed no agreement in family members’ experiences; interpretation should be individually and situationally adapted. However, when family members acted as interpreters, their role was to give both practical and emotional support, and this led to both positive and negative emotions. Use of simple language, better collaboration in the health-care organization and developing the interpreters’ professional attitude could improve the use of professional interpreters. The type of interpreter, mode of interpretation and patient's preferences should be considered in the interpretation situation. In order to achieve high-quality healthcare, health-care professionals need to organize a good interpretation situation case-by-case, choose the appropriate interpreters with the patient in focus and cooperate with members of the patient's social network.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge University Press, 2014
Keyword
communication barriers, family members, interpreters
National Category
Nursing
Research subject
Health and Caring Sciences, Caring Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-16226 (URN)10.1017/S1463423612000680 (DOI)000209619500005 ()23402584 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84893819780 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2011-12-18 Created: 2011-12-18 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved

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