Making Healthcare Accessible for All Patients

Submitted by By Alina Ferrer

Beebe Healthcare wants to provide quality care and service for all Sussex County residents. Many residents are in their golden years and may suffer from hearing loss. However, deafness is not only an older person’s concern – many people become deaf as children.

Beebe team members are educated about the many ways to communicate with a hearing-impaired or deaf patient.

There are several ways to communicate:

  • Visual or lip reading
  • Writing
  • Finger spelling
  • Gesturing
  • Get an interpreter – All medical facilities should have interpreters on call or use a video interpreter system.

Beebe Healthcare has installed two new video remote interpreting (VRI) computers to assist deaf patients.

These state-of-the-art units have better cameras for improved picture quality. The new computers are available to our patients at the Medical Center in Lewes and at Beebe’s Millville location. They allow deaf or hearing-impaired patients to use American Sign Language to communicate with Beebe team members.

VRI computers are used when patients need to communicate important medical or family information with healthcare providers until a sign language interpreter arrives. In addition to the VRI computers, a video phone is also available at the Medical Center in Lewes to allow deaf patients to use video conference call technology to place calls outside the hospital. The Millville location was chosen as a second site for the technology because there are many deaf patients that regularly utilize sign language interpreters there.

The VRI computers use video-conference technology similar to Skype, though on a secure network, allowing deaf patients to connect virtually to a sign language interpreter. This technology can help patients who are unable to communicate important medical information during a time of crisis. At Beebe Healthcare, these computers are only used until one of the four American Sign Language certified interpreters arrives to help the patient. In addition, Beebe has CapTel, a phone system for hearing-impaired patients.

For more information on the new VRI computers, call (302) 645-3190 or go to www.beebehealthcare.org.

Alina Ferrer is a Certified Healthcare Interpreter at Beebe Healthcare where she interprets for Spanish-speaking patients. She helps coordinate interpreting services for all patients. Beebe Healthcare works with a group of American Sign Language Interpreters and utilizes the Video Remote Interpreting machines until the interpreter arrives.

 

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