Working with Limited English Proficient (LEP) Families

The following describes what I considered to be Best Practices when working with Non-English speaking clients or patients.

Best Practices
•Bilingual/Bicultural professionals
•Frontline bilingual support staff
•Double sided bilingual forms (Releases, patient’s rights, confidentiality, consent for services)
•Bilingual materials in lobby
•Building signage
•Special aid to illiterate clients/patients
•Negotiate alternative cultural treatments

Practices Not Recommended
•Use of untrained interpreters.
•Use of family members /children to interpret
•Only English language forms prepared for client’s signature
•Voice mail with only English options
•Unresolved prejudice
•Inaccurate diagnoses and treatment due to lack of cultural knowledge

The appropriate use of trained interpreters in clinical settings improves outcomes and decreases adverse events. Agencies should try to recruit bilingual clinicians. If this is not possible, the use of untrained interpreters is NOT recommended.

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