Deaf and hard of hearing patients face communication barriers and report dissatisfaction overall with regard to their care.
Objectives The current research seeks to identify aids that would improve care of the DHH population in the emergency department (ED). Also, it is suggested that physician education would improve knowledge of how to communicate with DHH patients and attitudes/beliefs about the population.
Methods A written survey based on six dimensions (demographics, experience, knowledge, attitudes/beliefs, assumptions, and receptivity to intervention) was self-administered to fourth-year medical students enrolled in the Acute Care College of the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, and resident and faculty physicians in the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Emergency Department (N = 53). Descriptive statistics measured demographic data and response categories; parametric and nonparametric tests of significance were used to compare groups.
Results Knowledge dimension scores demonstrated a lack of knowledge regarding resource availability (ie, translators and TDDs). (Compiled average on a 5-point Likert scale was 1.98; 1 = least knowledgeable and 5 = most knowledgeable). However, the majority of physicians were receptive to ideas presented in the interventions dimension. (Compiled average on a 5-point Likert scale was 4.5; 1 translating to least receptive and 5 most receptive).
Conclusions ED physicians demonstrate variable attitudes/beliefs about the DHH patient and rely on rudimentary forms of communication due to the absence of knowledge regarding where to find an interpreter or TDD in the ED. Their receptivity to interventions, though, presents a tangible target for improvement of care of DHH patients in the ED.
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