Guidelines for health staff

Assessing the risk

How high is the risk for miscommunication with this patient / family?

Are you fluent in the patient's main language (i.e. the language they speak at home, with family and friends) ?

Do you have an in-depth understanding of the patient's culture?

Does the patient / family speak English as a first language?

Is the patient / family familiar with the communication routines and conventions (e.g. question and answer; giving consent) and specific concepts (e.g. organs and their functions, disease causation and consequences) common in Western medical communication?

Do you understand the extent to which such communication routines and conventions, and health-related concepts can differ between cultures and the implications of such differences for communication?

Are you trained in intercultural communication?

Are you sure you can achieve effective communication with this patient / family?

NO?? Then you need an interpreter to ensure you achieve effective communication with this patient / family.