Subproject 2 "Multilingualism in Medicine"
"Multilingualism in Medicine": Needs, Provision Models, Efficacy, Economic and Legal Aspects of Healthcare, and Quality Standards
Reference dimension sustainability: Content/research
Prof. Dr. Holger Schulz, Prof. Dr. Kristin Bührig, Prof. Dr. Gabriele Vogt, Dr. Mike Mösko and Juliette Maggu
- Which language resources do staff have at their disposal?
- How many patients do not speak German to an adequate level?
- How does communication with non-German speakers take place on a day-to-day basis in the hospital setting?
Germany has become a multilingual society, not least as a result of migration and globalization processes as well as the diversity of communication forms in the digital age. Cultural and linguistic diversity is an enormous social enrichment and resource. At the same time, this diversity presents us with challenges in health care services. Linguistic and cultural factors are among the main barriers to be overcome by health care service providers attempting to provide an appropriate level of health care to patients unable to communicate adequately in German. As the use of professional language assistance is not regulated for in the health care sector, service providers have in part developed individual solutions. Currently, however, most non-German-speaking patients are being looked after either inadequately or not at all.
Object of investigation and method
The object of this investigation is multilingualism in the normal provision of health care to patients. The main research questions are: Which language resources do staff have at their disposal? What are the language needs of patients? What are the current practices and wishes for support in providing health care to non-German speakers?
The aim of the project is to create a systematic data basis in order to make scientific claims about resources, the need for language support, as well as its deployment and the barriers involved in day-to-day hospital care. The long-term goal is to improve medical care for non-German-speaking patients.
Concrete approach The project will analyze multilingualism within the context of in-patient care in the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. Staff in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy as well as the II. Medical Clinic and Polyclinic (Oncology, Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation with the Section Pneumology) will be interviewed. One of the unique aspects of this project is that the study includes all occupational groups with immediate patient contact. Physicians and therapists, carers, provider assistants, and room cleaning staff will all participate by completing a questionnaire.
The study investigates the language resources of staff and the way in which they apply these resources in their day-to-day work in the hospital. It will explore current practices for communicating with non-German-speaking patients as well as the need for support in providing health care to these patients.
The study will be supplemented by a comprehensive literature review on the current status of research on the efficacy of professional language communication in out- and in-patient medical treatment, the analysis of existing professional language communication models in health care, and the analysis of current continuing and professional education opportunities for medical personnel on intercultural aspects of health care provision.
Using data derived from the questionnaire, we will be able to analyze multilingualism at the UKE. We also aim to pursue these as well as further research questions for other indication areas, in other health care institutions, and in out-patient treatment.
Poster (PDF) "Multilingualism in Standard Medical Care"