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Patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) encounter many health disparities and inequalities due to the lack of effective communication. The lack of effective communication places patients with LEP at higher risk for noncompliance with the treatment plan. Pain is one of the main common health issues, and patients with LEP have difficulties reporting their pain and adhering to the plan of care due to the lack of effective communication.
We measured the effectiveness of using a professional interpreter during office visits for Farsi-speaking patients with LEP to improve pain management and adherence with follow-up visits. In this single-sample quasi-experimental study, 16 Farsi-speaking participants with LEP who visited a podiatric medical office for foot pain rated their pain level at the initial visit and after the intervention during the first follow-up visit. Participants were provided with a professional Farsi-speaking interpreter during the visit.
Overall, patients reported lower mean ± SD levels of pain during the follow-up visit (4.19 ± 2.29) than at the initial visit (6.56 ± 2.03). Of all of the participants, 75% attended the follow-up appointment, demonstrating that most of the participants adhered to the plan of care.
The use of a professional interpreter during an office visit for patients with LEP was associated with improved pain management outcomes and increased adherence to the treatment plan.
Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, Department of Nursing, Samuel Merritt University, Sacramento, CA.