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Language and culture are vital subjects in modern society. Each week, LanguageLine curates three related stories that we think should be top-of-mind. Here are this week's "Liner Notes."

Families with limited English proficiency are less likely to question their child’s hospital care, a study has found.

Communication failures are a known source of medical errors and are especially likely to occur when there are language barriers. A new study at 21 children’s hospitals throughout the U.S., led by Alisa Khan, MD, MPH, at Boston Children’s Hospital, surveyed patients and family caregivers. Researchers found that many who lack proficiency in English feel less safe asking questions and speaking up during their hospital stay.

“As providers and hospitals, we must do a better job of partnering with families with language barriers,” Khan said. “We should encourage families to ask questions and speak up and make it safe for them to do so. Families know their child best and their observations are valuable. We must also use certified interpreters with every interaction.”

The researchers approached 813 randomly selected Arabic-, Chinese-, Spanish-, and English-speaking hospitalized pediatric patients and families. All 21 participating hospitals had interpreters available in-person, on video, or by telephone to varying degrees. Nonetheless, survey respondents with limited English proficiency were:

  • Less likely to strongly agree that they would “freely speak up if I see something that may negatively affect my/my child’s care” than respondents who were proficient in English (57 vs. 82 percent).
  • Less likely to strongly agree that they would “feel free to question the decisions or actions of health care providers” (37 vs. 71.5 percent).
  • Less likely to strongly disagree that they would be “afraid to ask questions when something does not seem right” (39 vs. 64 percent).

“We know that our hospital systems aren’t always set up to proactively encourage patients to speak up, but we were surprised by the magnitude of the difference based on language proficiency,” Khan said. “This difference can have safety implications, since when families speak up, it can greatly improve care.”

Participants with limited health literacy and a lower level of education were also less likely to question decisions. Participants with limited English proficiency were:

  • One-fourth as likely as English-proficient participants to say they would freely speak up about something that may adversely affect the child’s care;
  • One-fifth as likely to say they would question providers’ decisions or actions;
  • Less than half as likely to say they would be unafraid to ask questions when something does not seem right.

In a prior 2020 study, Khan and colleagues found that hospitalized children whose families had limited comfort with English were twice as likely to experience adverse events, in particular harm due to medical care.

LanguageLine can help: LanguageLine interpreters are skilled at facilitating communication between caregivers and the families of pediatric patients. We invite you to download our free ebook, “Interpreting for Children’s Hospitals.”



Breaking the Language Barrier May Be Key to Fixing the Labor Shortage

One of the biggest challenges that businesses are experiencing today is recruitment. Described as The Great Resignation, the U.S. has seen higher-than-usual numbers of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs since the pandemic, which is having a huge impact on businesses finding and retaining talent.


On top of that, there is growing importance being placed on a business’ diversity and inclusion (D&I) policy. With these two factors on the agenda, improving language support makes business sense and could be a significant part of the strategy to overcome the talent shortages in American business.


LanguageLine Can Help: LanguageLine is not just an interpretation and translation company. We also test and train bilingual employees to ensure their language proficiency.


Source: HR News




Hispanic Homeownership Rose Again in 2022


According to the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate professionals (NAHREP), the Hispanic homeownership rate grew to 48.6 percent, marking the eighth consecutive year of growth. 

Latinos added a net total of 349,000 homeowner households last year, which is one of the largest single-year gains over the last decade. Since 2014, when homeownership rates among Latinos began increasing following the Great Recession, 2.3 million net new Hispanic homeowner households had been added to the market, accounting for 24.4 percent of overall homeownership growth. Today, there are 9.2 million Hispanic homeowner households. 

Latinos made up 38.7 percent of all household formations last year, marking a major improvement from the previous two years when an unexpected boom in non-Hispanic White household formations nearly doubled that of Latino households. 

According to the report, Latinos trend younger as homeowners. About 70.6 percent of Latinos who purchased a home with a mortgage in 2021 were under the age of 45, compared to 63.9 percent of the general population, and 61.5 percent of non-Hispanic White buyers, according to data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA).

About 33 percent of Latinos aged 45 and under have the credit characteristics to qualify for a mortgage. Among those who don’t already have a mortgage, the share of mortgage-ready Latinos increases to 39 percent, according to Freddie Mac. The report added that Latinos are the largest near mortgage-ready population out of any other racial or ethnic group.

Latinos tend to be concentrated in larger cities and coastal markets where home prices are high, the report said.

Source: National Mortgage Professional

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