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Communication and Information Barriers to Health Assistance for Deaf Patients

From: American Annals of the Deaf
Volume 155, Number 1, Spring 2010
pp. 31-37 | 10.1353/aad.0.0128

Abstract

Abstract:

In Brazil, recent regulations require changes in private and public health systems to make special services available to deaf patients. In the present article, the researchers analyze the perceptions of 25 sign language–using patients regarding this assistance. The researchers found communication difficulties between these patients and health services staff, as well as a culture clash and a harmful inability among the service providers to distinguish among the roles of companions, caretakers, and professional translator/interpreters. Thus, it became common for the patients to experience prejudice in the course of treatment and information exchange, damage to their autonomy, limits on their access to services, and reduced efficacy of therapy. The researchers conclude that many issues must be dealt with if such barriers to health access are to be overcome, in particular the worrying degree of exclusion of deaf patients from health care systems.



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