Toronto Central LHIN Launches Language Services Toronto
TORONTO, Oct. 2, 2012 /CNW/ - As of October 1, non-English speaking patients will be able to communicate more effectively with physicians, nurses and other professionals through Language Services Toronto, a program led by the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network.
Language Services Toronto will provide real-time phone interpretation 24 hours a day, seven days a week in 170 languages, including Aboriginal languages. Patients with limited ability to communicate in English visiting different hospital emergency rooms, clinics and health centres across the GTA will benefit from higher quality care and have a better experience as a result of this vital service.
Studies show that newcomers and others who have difficulty communicating in English stay in hospital longer, visit the ER more often, have avoidable health complications, and are more likely to be readmitted after a hospital stay. Seniors often require interpretation services more than others. As people age - particularly those with dementia - their ability to speak a second language is reduced, making effective communication with health professionals extremely challenging.
In the past, phone interpretation was offered at a few hospitals that purchased the service on their own and paid vastly different rates for the service. The majority of community agencies were unable to afford this service for their patients. In October, phone interpretation will be offered in 19 hospitals and 14 community agencies in Toronto Central, Central, Central East, Central West and Waterloo Wellington LHINs.
Through Language Services Toronto, hospitals are bulk-purchasing the services of specially trained interpreters at a much lower cost. Some hospitals will see their rates drop by as much as 80 per cent. With funding from the Toronto Central LHIN, community agencies and health centres serving immigrants and seniors will offer this service - many for the first time. This shared service is freeing up funds to reinvest in language and other supports for some of the neediest patients.
Phone interpretation has helped many patients at the University Health Network, and we are pleased to be part of this innovative program. By integrating this service amongst multiple organizations, we have essentially eliminated language barriers, which, in turn, reduces risk to patient safety. It will also help in reducing hospital costs, and provide patients with a better hospital experience.
--Dr. Robert Bell, CEO, University Health Network
"We see firsthand how phone interpretation is helping our diverse client base and applaud this collaborative approach that will improve access to this much-needed service. Unison is grateful for the support from Toronto Central LHIN. With the LHIN's help we will not only be able to continue offering phone interpretation, but also be able to invest in other supports for some of the neediest people in Toronto."
--Cary Milner, CEO, Unison Health Centre
Language Services Toronto allows patients to have a greater voice in their own health care and enhances their health care experience. By acting together, hospitals and community are able to provide many more people with the same high quality care no matter who they are and which language they speak. Language no longer needs to be a barrier to great health care.
--Camille Orridge, CEO, Toronto Central LHIN
- Over 170 languages and dialects are spoken in Toronto Central LHIN;
- Approximately 400,000 to 500,000 people in the GTA have limited English ability and require interpretation support in a medical setting;
- Immigrants comprise 41 per cent of Toronto's population;
- Top five languages spoken in Toronto Central LHIN, other than English:
- Chinese languages
SOURCE: Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network
For further information:
Toronto Central LHIN
University Health Network
O : 416-340-4800 x. 3417