When is an interpreter required in a hospital setting?

Under the ADA, whenever patients, their family members, companions, or members of the public are interacting with hospital staff, the hospital is obligated to provide effective communication. Situations where an interpreter may be required include:
• Discussing a patient’s symptoms and medical condition, medications, and medical history
• Explaining and describing medical conditions, tests, treatment options, medications, surgery and other procedures
• Providing a diagnosis, prognosis, and recommendation for treatment
• Obtaining informed consent for treatment
• Communicating with a patient during treatment, testing procedures, and during physician’s rounds
• Providing instructions for medications, post-treatment activities, and follow-up treatments
• Providing mental health services, including group or individual therapy, or counseling for patients and family members
• Providing information about blood or organ donations
• Explaining living wills and powers of attorney
• Discussing complex billing or insurance matters
• Making educational presentations, such as birthing and new parent classed, nutrition and weight management counseling, and CPR and first aid training


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