ProMedica alleviating barriers for hard-of-hearing patients

Press Staff Writer

        ProMedica's Interpreter and Language Access Services office recently announced the availability of new devices that enable patients who are deaf or hard of hearing to communicate easily and effectively with staff.
        Each device consists of two keyboards with screens that enable deaf and hard-of-hearing patients to interact with hearing individuals using real-time text to facilitate face-to-face, barrier-free, simultaneous communication.
        “It is important to note that the devices do not replace the need for a professional sign language interpreter,” said Nancy Hegedus, manager of ProMedica interpreter and language access services. “However, interpreters are not always available and cannot always be present. We want our patients to have the best tools possible to improve their health and well-being and remove any barriers of accessibility.”
        Additionally, the devices assist patients who have other medical issues preventing them from being able to communicate verbally. “For example, a patient with a facial injury, a sports injury, or stroke may be unable to speak. While they may not be deaf, they still need a way to communicate effectively,” said Hegedus.
        “The devices are also of great assistance with COVID-19 patients who are on ventilators and not able to communicate verbally. Doctors and nurses are able to utilize the devices to facilitate real-time conversations with their patients instead of using dry erase boards,” said Hegedus.
        The devices do not require Wi-Fi or internet connection and work on their own secure system. Designed with a low frequency, wireless signal, the devices will not affect other medical devices in use within the facility.
        The devices meet all Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance requirements and provide non-stop, one-on-one communication between deaf and hearing people.
        ProMedica is the only health system in northwest Ohio that has implemented these devices, which are currently at the following ProMedica hospitals: Toledo, Flower, Coldwater Regional, Monroe Regional, Charles and Virginia Hickman, Defiance Regional, Memorial and Fostoria Community.
        The ProMedica Toledo Hospital Audiology department and the Interpreter and Language Access Services office also have the devices, and there are plans to make them available at more ProMedica locations.


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