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Health Services Intercultural Guide: Resources

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Below are other resources and initiatives that are in place or developing at this time that can be used to enhance local capacity to respond to diverse needs.

Multilingual Aid

A resource book titled Emergency Multilingual Aid: A multilingual and illustrated communication phrasebook for use by patients and staff has been developed and will be disseminated in early 2009.

The Emergency Multilingual Aid is intended to assist staff in communicating more effectively with patients with limited English proficiency who present in acute/emergency situations, prior to requesting the services of an interpreter or while awaiting the interpreter's arrival.

The resource covers 160 common questions and statements to help front line hospital staff to communicate with patients with limited English proficiency. It also contains some patient-led questions to assist communication in the absence of an interpreter. These questions are translated into twenty languages.

The resource is a partnership project between the National Intercultural Health Strategy (Social Inclusion Unit) and the Health Promoting Hospitals Network. For further information contact socialinclusion@hse.ie


Accessible health information

Equality, social inclusion and health promotion initiatives across the health services have increased our awareness of English language proficiency issues for some recently arrived migrants as well as health literacy issues among the general population. In response to this, efforts are in place to produce essential health information in easily understood terms and in some cases in the mother tongue of the person. At present particular initiatives are in place to address the need to produce and make available health information in an accessible and user-friendly manner.

A resource document, HSE Plain language style Guide for documents, outlining the process to be used for developing effective and user-friendly health information, including writing in plain English, is currently being finalised. This Guide will be available in early 2009 on www.healthpromotion.ie.

Under the implementation plan for the National Intercultural Health Strategy the Social Inclusion Unit is developing processes to ensure that essential information is available in a number of key languages. Some essential information has been translated into key languages and is available at a language hub on the HSE website at http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/find_a_service/languages

The Social Inclusion Unit is leading an initiative to develop guidelines and a business process that will ensure consistent standards for translated materials across healthcare settings. For further information contact socialinclusion@hse.ie


Cultural Mediation

Being uprooted from one's home culture, system of relationships and shared values leads to feelings of disempowerment and cultural dislocation. This is compounded by a lack of knowledge/ understanding of the systems and services in the new country.

Cultural Mediation services have been developed in Ireland in common with other European countries over the past number of years in order to address issues such as these for migrants to Ireland. The role of Cultural Mediation is to bridge the gap between the culture of the person and the environment in which they now find themselves, while respecting the individuality of the person.

Cultural Mediation is a dynamic process through which a professionally trained third party acts as a cultural broker between a person using a service and the service provider, to help them both to reach a common understanding, which will ultimately lead to more satisfactory outcomes in service provision and use.

Access Ireland has pioneered this area of work in Ireland and currently provides a Cultural Mediation service in respect of the Roma Community and African communities in the greater Dublin area. It is hoped to expand this service in 2009 and that a cultural mediation service will also be established in the west of Ireland.

Access Ireland Social Integration, Dominick Court,
40/41 Dominick Street Lower, Dublin 1.

Tel: (01) 8780589
Email: info@accessireland.ie
Website: www.accessireland.ie