Chinese speaking patients’ understanding of information and consent related to their surgical experience

Chinese speaking patients’ understanding of information and consent related to their surgical experience
Janine Bothe, Meng Chen
Journal of Stomal Therapy Australia, September 2021; 41(3) pp 16-21
Abstract
The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the use of interpreters among Chinese speaking inpatients having a surgical procedure at an Australian metropolitan hospital. The summary of the findings are: Patients often understood it to be their obligation to seek language assistance from their family members or friends. For this reason patients did not request an interpreter either during their visit to the surgeon (when written consent is routinely completed) or during hospitalisation. It is common practice for ‘bilingual’ surgeons to obtain informed consent even if the patient perceives that the surgeon cannot speak the language fluently. Staff under-utilised interpreters even if they were available and their benefits understood. These findings provide valuable information in which to plan for improvement in the stomal service and the wider organisation. Education and information can be shaped to improve the use of healthcare interpreters to the non-English speaking population at key milestones in their hospital journey.

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