Sexual violence is a pervasive feature of our society. Luckily, the dedicated forensic nurses at Abington-Jefferson Hospital provide expert care and empower patients with comprehensive resources. As part of the expansion and redesign of the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) Center at Abington-Jefferson Hospital, the inaugural class of the Master's of Science Health Communication Design program at Thomas Jefferson University have collaborated with the SAFE center staff and formulated communication tools to further the Center's mission of serving the residents of Montgomery County.
LEP Patient Communication
Early on during our meetings with our collaborators at the SAFE center, they disclosed to us that about 50% of the center's patients are limited English proficiency.
I chose to focus on LEP patient communication. According to The Joint Commission, Division of Health Care Improvement, approximately 57 million people, or 20% of the U.S population, speak a language other than English at home. Approximately 25 million or 8.6% of the U.S. population is defined as LEP.
Icons can be recognizable despite the language you speak. By creating an icon system, the SAFE Center can provide easier navigation for its patients while also allowing them to feel in control.
These icons can be utilized in different formats within the center, such as walls, plaques, posters, doors, etc. They can also be utilized in print materials, social media, and digital interfaces.
From the beginning of a patient experience, icons are used to signify the services available to patients within the SAFE Center. These visuals can be used on the center's doors, as well as signage leading to the center.
Icons can be utilized on a variety of surfaces to help patients navigate the space and identify services and resources such as water, coffee, sanitary products, waiting areas, and restrooms.
In this image, icons are utilized on plaques for navigation and on seats to maintain social distancing practices ensuring patient safety.
Icons can be utilized on doors signifying different uses for patients, staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders such as lawyers and law enforcement.
For example: Law enforcement can easily find lockers, conference rooms, and interview rooms. Patients can easily locate restrooms and exam rooms.
Icons can also be utilized in quick conversation cards. These conversation cards can aid a variety of patients through their journey upon visiting the SAFE Center. These cards go beyond language to be linguistically inclusive for nonverbal patients, children, as well as LEP patients. Patients can utilize these cards to communicate specific needs and wants.
For example: Patients can use the cards to communicate whether they consent to be photographed, have police present, or if they want an article of clothing, food, or a family member present during the exam.
Leveraging print and social media platforms the SAFE Center can create an outreach campaign in order to encourage bilingual people to volunteer at the SAFE Center and become certified assault counselors. In order to provide patients with a more personable and linguistically inclusive experience, bilingual assault counselors have the ability to act as support personnel for Limited English Proficiency (LEP) patients. Simultaneously, this campaign can also create awareness for interpreting services and language access within the SAFE Center.
This information can exist on print as well as social media platforms. Print materials can be in community centers, assisted living facilities, as well as religious and cultural institutions.