Accessibility Options

Contact Information

Center for Disabilities Studies
University of Delaware
461 Wyoming Road
Newark DE 19716
Phone: 302-831-6974
TDD: 302-831-4689

The Healthcare Provider’s Role in Effective Communication

Health care providers play a critical role in ensuring effective communication with their patients.  How do you define “effective communication?” Is it different for patients with disabilities?   For patients who are deaf or have loss of hearing, you may need to provide auxiliary aids or sign language interpreters for your patients to effectively communicate.

Below are some resources that will help clarify your role.

Federal disability discrimination laws mandate equal access to and an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from health care services, and effective communication with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. This memorandum, prepared by the National Association of the Deaf focuses on the obligations of private health care providers.  Questions and Answers for Healthcare providers

Places of public accommodation are required to ensure that customers or clients with disabilities affecting hearing, vision, speech, or cognition are provided with effective communication through auxiliary aids and services that enable them to fully benefit from facilities, services, goods, and programs. This ADA fact sheet is titled, “Providing Effective Communication.” ADA Series Fact Sheet 2: Providing Effective Communication.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing use a variety of ways to communicate. Some rely on sign language interpreters or assistive listening devices; some rely primarily on written messages. Many can speak even though they cannot hear. Effective communication is particularly critical in health care settings where miscommunication may lead to misdiagnosis and improper or delayed medical treatment. ADA Business Brief: Communicating with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Hospital Settings

Businesses can take advantage of two federal tax incentives available to help cover costs of making access improvements for customers with disabilities. This fact sheet outlines eligibility and requirements for these incentives. Tax Incentive For Businesses