Limited English Proficient Patients in Pharmacies: How Are We Preparing Our Students to Help Them?
Priti N. Patel and Emily M. Ambizas, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Department of Clinical Pharmacy Practice
Objectives: To identify promising methods of educating pharmacy students about language access for Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients.
Methods: An internet survey of chairpersons of curriculum committees at U.S. colleges of pharmacy was conducted. Follow-up phone calls and/or emails to elucidate more detailed information were also performed.
Results: Seventy-four responses from colleges of pharmacy in the U.S. with full accreditation, candidate status, or precandidate status were received (n=106). Forty-three respondents (61.4%) stated that they currently include education regarding language access for LEP patients in their curriculum. A required didactic course was identified most commonly as the place in the curriculum where language access issues currently exist, while elective courses, experiential education, and laboratory courses were identified less often. Of those curricula that do not currently cover LEP-related topics, the most common potential placement of the material identified was experiential education. Twelve respondents indicated that they may include this material in future courses, while 15 indicated that no such changes are planned currently.
Implications: Changing patient demographics have increased the need for effective provision of pharmacy services to LEP patients. LEP patients can better use their medications through the use of translated pharmacy labels, auxiliary warning labels, printed medication guides, as well as verbal interpretation of pharmacist counseling. Written translation and verbal interpretation used together can help optimize care for LEP patients. While some efforts are underway to improve the provision of language services in pharmacy settings, further development of this topic in the pharmacy curriculum can help future pharmacists better care for LEP patients.