Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Picture Boards Speak In Health Crisis

From CBS News:

With more ill and injured people needing emergency care but do not speak English, hospitals, clinics and rescue squads are turning to picture boards to bridge the communication gap with easily understood images.

The large, double-sided panels let patients point to icons showing their problem _ such as pain, a burn, breathing trouble or a fall _ as well as the part of the body that is affected. They also can point to their native language in a list so an appropriate interpreter can be located.

"They ought to be in every ambulance, in every hospital, in every clinic," said Dr. Fred M. Jacobs, head of New Jersey's health department. "Communication barriers lead to adverse impacts on (care) quality, misunderstandings and even medical errors."

His department is partnering with the state's hospital association to distribute thousands of the boards to all New Jersey hospitals, rescue squads and public health clinics.


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