Language Interpretation and Translation Services in Pharmacies for Limited English Proficient Patients
Priti N. Patel and Emily M. Ambizas, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Department of Clinical Pharmacy Practice
Objectives: To identify promising methods of providing language access services for Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients in pharmacy settings.
Methods: An internet survey of pharmacists and other healthcare professionals involved in the provision of pharmaceutical care was conducted. Follow-up phone calls and/or emails to elucidate more detailed information were also performed.
Results: Of the 57 respondents who identified their profession, 32 were pharmacists (56.1%). Most respondents (89.5%) believed there is a need within their state for language services for LEP patients. Most (91.1%) reported encountering LEP patients at their practice site, with the majority stating they encounter LEP patients on a daily basis (62.7%). Spanish was the most encountered language. Resources used by pharmacists to provide care to LEP patients include telephone interpretation, translation guides and dictionaries, and translated prescription labels.
Implications: The need for effective provision of pharmacy services to LEP patients has increased with the expanding immigrant population in the U.S. The use of translated pharmacy labels, auxiliary warning labels, printed medication guides, and verbal interpretation of pharmacist counseling used together can help pharmacists better care for LEP patients. While some efforts are underway to improve the provision of language services in pharmacy settings, further development of pharmacy-specific material can help pharmacists better care for LEP patients.