5179.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - 2:45 PM

Abstract #10948

Communication when the patient is Deaf: Perspectives of clinicians and patients

Annie Steinberg, MD1, Steven Barnett, MD2, Philip Zazove, MD3, and Erin Wiggins, MBA1. (1) Children's Seashore House, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, 716 242 9566, N/A, (2) Dept of Family Medicine Primary Care Institute, University of Rochester, 885 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620, 716 242 9566, steven_barnett@urmc.rochester.edu, (3) Dept of Family Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Background: People who are deaf use healthcare services differently than the general population; little research exists examining why. Prior research shows that when deaf patients and hearing physicians interact, both report frustration with communication. Part of this frustration may be due to differences of language and culture.

Methods: We examined deaf patients’ perspectives on healthcare in a series of focus group meetings in three US cities. We collected information about healthcare communication and perceptions of clinicians. We elicited stories of both positive and negative encounters, and participants’ recommendations for how to improve healthcare communication. We also examined the perspectives of a sample of US clinicians using a written survey. We collected information on knowledge and attitudes regarding deafness and experiences working with deaf patients. We also asked about clinicians’ knowledge of the Americans With Disabilities Act, experiences working with interpreters and thoughts about reimbursement of interpreter costs.

Presentation: We will present our analyses of overall healthcare communication themes that emerged from the focus group meetings and identify participants’ perceptions of satisfying and challenging healthcare encounters. Portions of the participants’ narratives, translated from American Sign Language into English, will be used to highlight major points. We will compare these themes with the experiences reported by clinicians in the written survey. The presenters will share recommendations for how to improve healthcare communication with deaf patients and their families. Discussion will include ways to disseminate this information to current and future healthcare system workers, implications for medical education, and suggestions for future research.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant will be able to: 1. Identify the communication challenges faced by clinicians and deaf patients; 2. Discuss ways to improve healthcare communication with deaf patients; 3. Identify areas for future research

Keywords: Deaf Patients, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA