Name of the activity: Breaking the Silence
Country/NMO: Romania (FASMR)
Program: Teaching Medical Skills
Contact information: [email protected]
Type of the activity: Capacity Buidling
There are 23,000 hearing-impaired people in Romania. The barrier of communication hinders their daily activities, and in the case of a medical emergency this may be a real threat to the life of the deaf patient. Through our work, we try to get closer to them and fight for their right to proper health care even if they represent a minority nationwide. We believe in creating a medical network in the future where doctors from different specialties, who know sign language and can communicate with these patients.
Doctor-Patient communication skills, Soft Skills for medical practitioners
Hearing deficiency, with a prevalence of about 9%, is the sixth “chronic condition” in the United States.1 There is no official data for Europe, but according to the EU Deaf (EUD) the situation is similar. Only 5% of deaf people in the world know to write and read 2 and there is a very wide variety in their ability to read on the lips.3
As a result, the interaction between the physician and the hypoacusive patient is difficult.
Due to the limited access to medical information, the hearing impaired patients can not make informed medical decisions for themselves and for their families.4 The barrier encountered in this case is not only linguistic but also psychological one.5 Taking into account all the above, we draw attention to the fact that the risk of having a wrong diagnosis in this situation is real.
The Constitution of the European Union states that it is the right of the hearing impaired patient to ask for an interpreter when he is in the hospital.6 In Romania, there are currently no interpreters in hospitals, and this is due to both the lack of funds and the reduced number of interpreters.
1 Steven Barnett & Peter Franks, Health Care Utilization and Adults Who Are Deaf: Relationship with Age at Onset of Deafness, 37 HEALTH SERVS.
2 Quotation from Colin Allen (2008: 8) Global Survey Draft Report, WFD Eastern Europe and Middle Asia Regional Secretariat;
3 Michele LaVigne & McCay Vernon, An Interpreter Isn’t Enough: Deafness, Language and Due Process, 2003 WIS. L. REV. 843, 859.
4 Steven Barnett, Communication with Deaf and Hard-of- hearing People: A Guide for Medical Education, 77 ACAD. MED. 694, 694-700 (2002); see
Harmer, supra note 2.
5 E.E. McNeil, Physicians’ Attitudes Toward Deaf Persons and the Communication Methods Used with Their Deaf Patients (1984),
microformed on Dissertation Abstracts Int’l 45:5, 1306A (Univ. Microforms No. AAC 8418170)
6 Date din: http://www.eud.eu/EUD_UNCRPD_DVD-i- 224.html
Target groups and beneficiaries:
First of all, hearing-impaired patients. We want to break the communication barrier they have when they come to a hospital. Students also benefits from this activity, as they are more prepared to communicate and have a better time management when a deaf person comes to the hospital
Objectives and indicators of success:
What are the objectives of your Activity, what do you want to change? Name your objectives in bullet points. Objectives should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. For each objective, name one or multiple indicators of success. Indicators of success are surrogates for you to assess if you have reached a certain objectives.
The project aim is to teach medical students sign language so the communication with a person with loss of hearing becomes easier.
Increasing the number of students who want to learn sign language, so the future doctors generation can communicate easily with deaf patients.
Bringing medical students a ”doctor- deaf patient” scenario, so in the future they would cope with meeting a deaf patient.
Informing deaf high-school students/middle-school students on healthcare topics as: sexual education, nutrition, healthy lifestyle
Informing and raising awareness in the local community about deaf people integration and rights, especially in the medical field
Indicators of Success:
Training approximate 270 medical students in 8 FMOs/year.
At least 3 activities/ month in which students meets deaf people.
Each involved student knows the alphabet and can take a correct anamnesis from a deaf patient.
6 conferences presented by medical students for deaf children on various medical topics
1 course which consist of 8 meetings ( 1/week) with a interpret from ANSR ( The National Deaf Association of Romania) to deepen sign language
Plans for evaluation:
The assessment consists of testing the involved students’ ability to interact with deaf people in school / high school activities and in clinical cases simulations.