Who Should Use the Toolkit
Nearly 52 million people---over 19% of the U.S. population---speak a language other than English at home. Health care providers from across the country have reported language difficulties and inadequate funding of language services to be major barriers to limited English proficient (LEP) individuals' access to health care and a serious threat to the quality of care they receive. Whether large or small, urban or rural, hospitals and health systems are encountering more and more patients with LEP.
A 2006 survey conducted by the Health Research and Educational Trust found that 63% of hospitals reported treating LEP patients either daily or weekly and an additional 17% reported seeing LEP patients at least monthly Seventy-nine percent (79%) of hospitals in the survey indicated that training on how to respond to patients and family members who do not speak English would facilitate providing language services. Though 66% of hospitals indicated that they maintain information about a patient's primary language in medical records, only 38% said that they maintain a database of patients' primary language that they could use to track changes over time or make decisions about how to allocating resources for language services in the hospital.
The Toolkit provides information about collecting primary language information from patients and family members. It also addresses collecting data and providing services for deaf and hard of hearing populations.
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