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Interpretation Services

Introduction

Date of Last Review 01/04/2013

Date of Last Revision: 01/09/2013
SME: Director of Social Services


At UT-HCPC, patients are entitled to communicate in a language that they understand.

Purpose

To have interpretation services available when a patient has limited English proficiency or has sensory impairment preventing communication with the treatment team.

Interpreter

An interpreter is a person who facilitates communication from English to a language other than English and vice versa.

Responsibility

The Social Service Department has the primary responsibility to arrange for interpretation services Monday through Friday.  The department has a full-time Spanish interpreter and a full-time Language Center Manager (LCM). The interpreter and the LCM are available Monday thru Friday 8:00AM—5:00PM for translations in person. The LCM is the primary contact when an interpreter is required Monday thru Friday 8:00AM—5:00PM.  On weekends or after hours, clinical personnel need to arrange for interpreter assistance through the other programs described below.

Available services

The following interpretation services are available at UTHCPC:

Language Center Manager and Language Competency Program

Telephonic Interpretation Services

Interpretation Services In-Person through an agency

Sign Language Services

LanguageCenter Manager and Language Competency Program

The Language Center Manager (LCM) coordinates all interpretation services during the week, Monday thru Friday 8:00AM—5:00PM. The LCM and another full-time staff member are Spanish interpreters. The Language Competency Program includes other UTHCPC employees who have been tested to provide interpreter services for Spanish speaking patients.

When an interpreter is needed, unit personnel or the department needing the service contacts the LCM. The LCM will arrange services through the members of the team of interpreters according to their availability.

An outside interpreter (in person or over the telephone) for Spanish must not be contacted Monday thru Friday 8am-5pm without checking the availability of the internal interpreters first.

Telephonic Interpretation Services
These services can be used 24 hours a day, when the physical presence of an interpreter in the hospital is not required. The interpretation services are provided only by telephone, and the services are available 24/7/365.

Step 1

Determine what language the person speaks: provide the patient with the “Language Identification Card” which asks the patient in every language to point to the language of choice.

Step 2 call the agency, Telelanguage, at 1-800-883-4056
  a. provide the “Client ID” (7809), which is the access code for UT-HCPC
  b. Provide “Your Organization’s”  name: “Univ. of Texas Harris County Psychiatric Center”
  c. provide “your name” and “department”, which is the person and unit calling to use this service: “Admissions”, “Unit 2D”, etc.
  d. note the language you need
Step 3 The requestor will be placed on hold while an interpreter is conferenced into the call
Step 4 When the interpreter joins the conversation, provide any special instructions and explain whether  you will be using a speaker phone or passing the phone back and forth
Step 5 Carry out the interview.  When the call is complete, tell the interpreter, “End of Call.”

Interpretation Services In-Person

For languages other than Spanish, when an interpreter in-person is required, the agency Telelanguage or MasterWord can provide regular interpretation services Monday thru Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, and emergency interpretation services after hours and at the weekends.

If services from this agency are needed Monday thru Friday from 8.00 AM to 5:00 PM, the person requesting the interpreter should call the Language Center Manager and she will arrange the services with the agency. For services after hours or during the weekends, clinical personnel may contact the language agencies to request an interpreter 24/7/365 the following way:

Step 1 Establish which language the patient speaks.
Step 2

Contact Telelanguage at 800-883-4056 (ID Code 7809) OR Masterword at 281-589-0810 to schedule the needed service

Provide the following information:

  • a. Name of patient

  • b. Location of patient: e.g. Patient Registration, Unit 3B, etc
  • c. Name of Physician
  • d. The start time
  • e. Amount of time interpreter is needed
  • f. What specific duty you need the interpreter to perform (examples: discharge planning, family meeting, psychiatric interview, group therapy)
  • g. Name and phone number of the contact person: who should the assigned interpreter call?

Step 3 The language agency will return the call after securing an interpreter and will give the contact person the name and approximate arrival time.

Sign Language

Accessible Signs has been contracted by UT-HCPC to provide American Sign Language and Mexican Sign Language services. This agency can provide regular interpretation services Monday thru Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, and emergency interpretation services after hours and at the weekends. In order to arrange these services, the staff needing an interpreter Monday thru Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, should call the Language Center Manager and she will arrange the service with the agency. After hours or on the weekends, they can be reached the following way:

Step 1

Establish whether the patient uses American Sign language or Mexican Sign Language either through  written text or through family accompanying patient

Step 2

Contact Accessible Signs at 713-263-9670 to schedule the needed service

Provide the following information:

  • a. Name of patient
  • b. Location of patient: e.g. Patient Registration, Unit 3B, etc
  • c. Name of Physician
  • d. The start time
  • e. Amount of time interpreter is needed
  • f. What specific duty you need the interpreter to perform (examples: discharge planning, family meeting, psychiatric interview, group therapy)
  • g. Name and phone number of the contact person: who should Sign Shares and/or the assigned interpreter call?
Step 3

Sign Shares will return the call after securing an interpreter and will give the contact person the name and approximate arrival time

Interpreting in group settings
If a therapy group, or any other kind of educational group, is being conducted in a unit, and a patient with limited English proficiency is attending the group, the group leader should contact the LCM as soon as possible to get an interpreter.

Reporting Unavailable Interpreter Service

If an interpreter from the Language Competency program is unavailable, the Language Center Manager will make a note in the translation services log.

Further information

For further information, staff may contact Director of Social Services at the following:

Social Services Department
Office: UTHCPC 3C05
Phone: 713-741-3825

Related standards

The Joint Commission : Management of Human Resources

“Patient Care” and in the subsection “Treatment Services” and then in “Section C Therapy Assessment/Services”.

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Harris County Psychiatric Center University of Texas Health Science Center