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Breaking down language barriers

Improved signs and new information sheets are helping break down language barriers at Wellington Regional Hospital’s Radiology Department.

The brainchild of senior project manager Emma Morrow, the project has involved making Radiology’s materials more relevant to the patients of different ethnicities that the department sees.

“The aim is to have a stronger focus on communicating with patients from different cultural backgrounds, and helping improve their awareness of what’s to expect,” she said.

“As part of this, I looked at the top 10 ethnicities of the patients who come through Radiology and had one of our key information sheets translated into those languages.”

The sheet includes information about where patients can wait for their appointment, how long they may to wait, what to do if they feel unwell, and when they can expect to receive their results.

As well as English the sheets are now available in Arabic, Burmese, Hindi, Khmer, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Māori, Samoan, Somali and Vietnamese.

Translations in Mandarin, Māori and Samoan translations have also been added to signs and a number of children’s books in the same languages have been purchased for the waiting area.

It is hoped that, over time, more resources will be translated – such as the information sheets for specific procedures that are sent out to patients ahead of their appointment.

“It’s been a really good opportunity to think about these things more than we usually do,” said radiology operations manager Tim McElroy.

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“Having these resources, particularly the signs and the books, make a real difference to patients – especially in terms of making them feel more comfortable, which is really important.”

Attached image: Tim McElroy and Emma Morrow hope the new signs and materials will help improve patients’ experience in Radiology.

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