Sight translation by Mary Luczki.
“Did you Google it?” is often the first question people ask each other when faced with a question or situation they don’t understand. When medical information is sought, “Google” becomes “Dr. Google,” and the daunting task of weeding through the search results for accurate information can be overwhelming.
As much as we know we shouldn’t do it, natural curiosity and the need to feel in control of our healthcare journey take over and before you know it, www.google.com is typed into the address bar. While a patient may have been given plenty of information from a doctor about a new diagnosis and the treatment plan ahead, the patient may still want to seek out more information, community and support online.
The ‘need to know more,’ ‘information at our fingertips’ age is complicated even further for people who aren’t native English speakers. Trying to decipher search results in a second or even third language can make health care literacy an impossible goal and lead to unnecessary misunderstandings and future complications. Fortunately, for the Deaf community, there is an organization that is aiming to provide Deaf people with a reliable resource to learn about tests, diagnoses, procedures and conditions in American Sign Language.
DeafHealth.org has made it their mission to “provide clear and concise health education in American Sign Language to promote the overall wellness of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing community.” By providing health education in ASL, the organization is equipping Deaf patients with accurate healthcare information and providing Deaf people the opportunity to become knowledgeable participants in their own healthcare. If a patient has a solid understanding of their health care, then when they turn to ‘Dr. Google’ for support, more information and community, they are less likely to be derailed by misinformation.
InDemand has partnered with DeafHealth.org to create a series of videos covering several important topics which are often misunderstood, or even worse, never adequately explained. We recognize DeafHealth.org as being the leading provider of health education and information to the Deaf & Hard of Hearing communities and believe in making this information accessible to our providers and patients.
The topics of these videos include:
- Preparing for Your Doctor’s Appointment
- Discharge Against Medical Advice
- Medical Power of Attorney for Healthcare
- Living Will – also known as an Advanced Directive
- Informed Consent:
- What is it?
- Why do I need to sign a form agreeing to it?
- What are the legal requirements for it?
- Who, in addition to the patient, is allowed to provide consent?
- Are there times when consent requirements don’t apply?
- What questions should I ask?
- Can I change my mind after I’ve signed the consent?
- What if I don’t want the treatment that is being offered?
- How is informed consent for a clinical trial or research study different than informed consent for standard treatment?
- How is shared decision making different from informed consent?
- What if I want my doctor to make the decision about my care?
Deafhealth.org has only just begun and they are actively adding more video resources for Deaf patients. Healthcare literacy is an important issue for all patients and it becomes more difficult to achieve when a language barrier is added. By leveraging resources like www.deafhealth.org, engaging medical providers who are sensitive to Deaf culture/community and only hiring qualified medical interpreters, Deaf patients have the best opportunity to become active and knowledgeable participants in their healthcare journey.