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Beebe Medical Center Now Offers Videophone for Deaf Visitors

Pictured here, left to right: Dennise Scott, a Sorenson VRS Installer/Trainer; Caroline Greene, a professional interpreter for the deaf; Alina Ferrer, MSW, CCHI, Beebe Health Interpreter; Steve Cahoon, MSW, LCSW, Beebe Patient Advocate; Paul Minnick, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, Beebe Executive Vice President/ Chief Operating Officer; and Ron Webster, Beebe Security/Safety/Valet Manager.

Deaf visitors at Beebe Medical Center can now call friends and relatives when a loved one is in the hospital by using Sorenson Video Relay Service® (SVRS®) and the specially designed Sorenson Communications ntouch® VP videophone. The videophone is located in a privacy cubicle in Beebe’s Outpatient Laboratory Testing Request waiting area near the east entrance of the hospital. The cubicle is conveniently located nearby the Emergency Department waiting area. The videophone has a television screen and works much like Skype, allowing the deaf person so make videophone calls to other deaf people with the same kind of phone, or to a certified American Sign Language (ASL) translator who then “relays” the message to a hearing person on a standard telephone. The videophone at Beebe Medical Center is set up to be completely private, and does not retain a record of content or the numbers that have been called. The service is welcomed, says Dennise Scott, a Sorenson VRS Installer/Trainer and a member of the local deaf community. Though the deaf population in Sussex County is small, the numbers swell in the summer season to several hundred. “It’s often a difficult time for people when they come to the hospital,” says Paul Minnick, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “It can be so much more difficult for a deaf person who is accompanying an ill friend or family member and who needs to alert family members who are far away. We understand these difficulties and have tried to make the experience as comfortable as it can be.”