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Request for Sign Language Interpreting Services

QHC   Policy No: 2.3.5
Title: Accessibility - Request for Sign Language Interpreting Services Original Issue Date: April 04, 2002
Manual: Administration  
Department: Issued By: Approved By: Corporate MLT Review / Revision Date(s): 01/14/2010

1. Policy

It is the responsibility of hospitals to provide accessibility for patients who are deaf and hard of hearing and use professional sign language interpreting services. This principle is supported by the Ontario Human Rights Code, the 1997 Supreme Court Eldridge decision and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (the AODA).

Sign Language interpreters are included in the multidisciplinary team and are required to follow Quinte Health Care (QHC) policy and procedure, including patient confidentiality.

Ontario Interpreting Services (OIS) at The Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) provides professional Interpreters. The CHS staff and freelance interpreters are required to adhere to a strict code of ethics including the duty to safeguard the right to privacy and maintain a high level of confidentiality with respect to interpreter requests .The CHS Assignment Coordinator may require additional information at time of booking to ensure optimal and timely provision of interpreting services.

2. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all patients are able to make informed decisions and give informed consent including patients who are deaf, deafened and hard of hearing and require professional sign language interpreting services. Through professional interpreting services, patients are informed, comprehensive assessments and history can be obtained and optimal care and education provided. It is imperative that members of the multidisciplinary team offer to contact and arrange for interpreting services.

3. Procedure

  1. Visit without an Interpreter:
    When a person who is deaf presents to Quinte Health Care, the attending QHC staff will:
    1. Offer to contact & arrange for interpreting services.
    2. If the patient accepts, the QHC staff will contact The Canadian Hearing Society. Contact information for Ontario Interpreting Services at The Canadian Hearing Society - Day Service and After Hours Emergency Interpreting Service: evenings & weekends is available in the department.
    3. When the Interpreting Service requests the patient's name and level of urgency of the request, QHC staff will provide this information within the consent parameters of care delivery. The patient name helps to ensure that the interpreter provided is appropriate to the needs of the particular request and can also help to ensure continuity of service.
    4. The Interpreting Service may also request additional details such as: exact location, number of patients/staff, call-back information and whether an interpreter preference has been indicated.

2. Planned Visits:

Ontario Interpreting Services contact information is available in your department. Where possible more advance notice of requests for interpreting services will better ensure an interpreter's availability to provide service on the date requested. Services may be arranged for planned visits by calling the local Canadian Hearing Society office at least two weeks in advance. If a cancellation is required, appointments should be cancelled at least 2 business days prior to the appointment.

3. Unplanned Visits:

Ontario Interpreting Services reserve interpreters on a first come first served basis. However, there are exceptions to this policy, where visits are not pre-planned, which include:

  • Hospital emergencies of a life and death nature or where serious injury has occurred to either the deaf person or where the deaf person is immediate family to the victim - the patient.
  • Diagnosis/treatment of a serious nature requiring immediate intervention.

Unplanned requests, such as visits to the emergency room or visits for clinical tests that happen after regular business hours are scheduled through the Ontario Interpreter Services After Hours Emergency Interpreting Service which is an on- call centralized service.

The contact information for the After Hours Emergency Interpreting Service's Call Centre is also located in your department.

4. Payment

The Canadian Hearing Society will invoice Quinte Health Care for interpreting services performed. Invoices will reflect an hourly rate for service and interpreter travel costs, i.e., mileage.

The Canadian Hearing Society will provide per assignment invoices to QHC. There is a minimum 2 business day prior to service date cancellation policy. In the event of a cancellation of a pre-booked service without adequate notice, a cancellation fee will be charged.

Appendices and References:

Resources: The Canadian Hearing Society
Reference: Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act, 2005, AODA