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“They don’t handle finding interpreters”: An audit study of Deaf patients and access to basic healthcare

by Elizabeth Schniedewind

Poster Session

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Deaf users of ASL are at risk for reduced access to communication at healthcare encounters. Although the provision of sign language interpreters has been mandated as a reasonable accommodation for more than 25 years, Deaf patients anecdotally report that interpreters are often not provided upon request. In the study presented, Deaf and hearing simulated patients attempted to secure first-time appointments with providers in Idaho, using a randomized and stratified sample of primary care (75% of sample) and general dentistry (25% of sample) clinics.

Participants will be able to:

  • Describe the success rate of Deaf simulated patients who requested a sign language interpreter as an accommodation compared to non-deaf simulated patients who requested no accommodation for a new-patient appointment.
  • Discuss the implications of the study results.
  • Identify recommendations for further research and avenues to improve access to interpreter services for Deaf patients.

A white woman wearing wire rim glasses with brown wavy shoulder length hair smiles at cameraElizabeth Schniedewind has been an interpreter in private practice for over twenty years. She is a clinical associate professor in the Sign Language Interpreter program at Idaho State University, Meridian, and interprets in the community. She received MA and BA degrees from Gallaudet University, owned/operated an interpreter referral service and served on the NAD/RID Code of Ethics Committee, RID NIC Task force and the RID Philosophy, Mission, Goal, Diversity Statements Review Committee. She owes her career and happiness to Deaf people who taught her ASL and allowed her to be part of their lives and culture. She hopes that by the time your read this in the conference program she will have received her Ed.D. from Boise State University in Curriculum and Instruction–she really, really, hopes…