Consequences of suboptimal communication for patients with limited English proficiency in the intensive care unit and suggestions for a way forward: A qualitative study of healthcare team perceptions

Nataly R. Espinoza Suarez, Meritxell Urtecho, Christina A. Nyquist, Carolina Jaramillo, Mei Ean Yeow, Bjorg Thorsteinsdottir, Michael E. Wilson, Amelia K. Barwise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To understand the healthcare team's perceptions of the negative consequences of suboptimal communication and their recommendations to improve communication with patients and families who have Limited English Proficiency (LEP) in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Materials and methods: We performed a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews of physicians, nurses, and interpreters from 3 ICUs at Mayo Clinic Rochester, between November 2017 and April 2018. Results: We identified 5 consequences of suboptimal communication: 1) Suboptimal assessment and treatment of patient symptoms, 2) Unmet patient and family expectations, 3) Decreased patient autonomy, 4) Unmet end of life wishes and 5) Clinician Distress. Recommendations to improve communication include: 1) Education and training for patients,families, clinicians and interpreters, 4) Greater integration of interpreters into the ICU team 5) Standardized timeline for goals of care conversations with patients and families with LEP. Conclusions: Patients with LEP are at risk of experiencing suboptimal communication with the healthcare team in the ICU. There are several educational and quality improvement strategies that ICUs and institutions can take to mitigate these issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-251
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Volume61
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Consequences
  • Intensive care unit
  • Language barriers
  • Limited English proficiency
  • Recommendations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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