Knowing your patients’ language preferences is essential. You’ll help increase their comfort level, engage them in the treatment process and improve the quality of the health care you provide.
Be prepared. You can help ensure that patients understand health and wellness materials, forms and important pre- and post-operative instructions by having written materials readily available in the primary languages spoken by your patients.
Boost your skills. Take steps to learn more about cultural differences:
- Attend classes and continuing education courses that address social customs among different cultures in your community.
- Ask patients (or an accompanying relative or friend) what the preferred language is and how you can create a comfortable environment. Note and highlight the answers in the patient’s chart.
- Document your practice’s protocol for working with cultural differences in your office manual. Make sure all staff are familiar with it.
- Be sensitive to how well each patient understands you and always take time to answer questions.
- Advise your Delta Dental patients with limited proficiency in English about their right to language assistance services free of charge through our Language Assistance Program (LAP).
- Encourage patients to use professional interpretive services rather than relying on a relative or friend, though the final choice is theirs. (Using an interpretive service ensures confidentiality and the quality of language interpretation.)
Call for language assistance. You or your patient may call Customer Service and we will arrange for a qualified interpreter to help via telephone.
For on-site interpretation services, call at least 72 hours in advance of the appointment time. (Dentists and office staff are not prohibited from speaking with patients in languages other than English; however, use of interpretive services is recommended.)
Did you know? According to worldatlas.com, Spanish is the most commonly reported non-English language spoken in the U.S, followed by (in order of the most speakers) Chinese, French and French Creole, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean, German, Arabic, Russian and Italian.