Communication is an important part of any relationship, but it is especially important between physician and patient. Effective communication is critical to a proper diagnosis, appropriate medication dosing and ensuring patient compliance with a treatment regimen.
Disability can impact communication. Identifying a patient’s disability and its potential impact on effective communication is the first step in reducing the risk of miscommunication. The type of disability‒intellectual, sensory, mobility or mental health–will help determine the kind of accommodation needed. Usually minor accommodations can be made to ensure effective communication. There are many options for auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication. Health care providers and their staff can develop skills and acquire tools that will allow them to successfully provide accommodations to patients with disabilities.
The publication Effective Communication for Health Care Providers: A guide to caring for people with disabilities can be a valuable resource for providers to achieve effective communication.
If you are interested in individual topics from the publication, the PDF fact sheets listed below are easy to read and can be printed out for your reference.
The fact sheets on specific disability topics include definitions, ways to care for people and additional resources.