Hospital In-Patient Services

Audience: Doctors; Dentists; Therapists; Social Workers and other healthcare professionals
Runtime: 1.38 min.
Focus: Colin Phillips on communication access within healthcare services

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Audience: Professionals who work in hospitals, complex care facilities, nursing homes, clinics, home health services and hospices.
Runtime: 4:38 mins
Focus: Steve Wells on communication barriers in a healthcare setting.







In addition to general communication barriers, we may experience unique communication barriers when using healthcare services.  These include:

  • Healthcare professionals not knowing how we communicate, or being able to understand our messages
  • Healthcare professionals not giving us information in ways we can understand
  • Hospitals not having appropriate communication tools and methods available for us to use in emergencies
  • Hospitals not having procedures for us to authorize who we want to assist us communicating and / or make decisions about our healthcare
  • Patient Intake and Admissions Services not being able to get accurate information from us
  • Healthcare professionals not knowing how to obtain our informed consent to treatment and advance care directives
  • Hospitals not providing access the nurse’s call bell to get attention in an emergency

In a healthcare situation, patients who have conditions that affect their communication may require assistance to communicate with healthcare providers. If this is a family member or support staff, it is important to ensure that the patient has authorized them to assist with communication.  Every effort must be made to safeguard the patient’s autonomy in decision-making about their healthcare. Patients who do not have a way to communicate or who do not have a communication assistant should be referred to a Speech-Language Pathologist. Hospital, healthcare settings and emergency services should have a range of communication boards that people can use.  A Speech-Language Pathologist can provide training to staff on how to use these tools and ensure patients have effective ways to communicate.

Resources for Healthcare Providers