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Hospiten launches the first healthcare consultation in Spanish Sign Language in Spain

Posted on 08-11-2022

The Hospiten Rambla University Hospital has launched the first general medicine consultation in Spanish Sign Language (LSE) in Spain to remove the communication barriers faced by people with hearing loss.

The project, led by Professor Manuel Maynar, head of Hospiten's Endoluminal/Endovascular Diagnosis and Therapeutics Service, aims to make LSE the primary vehicular language at medical appointments. Taking into account the communication barriers and growing obstacles encountered by people with hearing disabilities, this type of consultation will lead to an improvement in individual and collective health care for the deaf.

The aim is to meet the needs of the deaf community, incorporating and facilitating a space for their development and self-determination in the field of health and medicine. To achieve this, communication between doctor and patient, without intermediaries, is key. Ensuring privacy, trust and the therapeutic relationship between doctor and patient.

The patient will be cared for by a team made up of deaf professionals or CODA (“Child of Deaf Adult”, hearing children of deaf parents). From administration staff in admissions to the healthcare, medical, nursing and auxiliary personnel - all of them bilingual or competent in LSE. A signing deaf doctor will carry out the consultation. The patient can then be referred to the appropriate specialist to treat their condition, at the hands of a highly experienced multidisciplinary team with accessibility ensured at every step of the process.

Dr. Aleida Castro Viera, deaf and bilingual, stresses that “a consultation in Spanish Sign Language (LSE) will give the patient a more reliable, effective diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. It will also ensure the patient’s right to privacy is respected as they do not have to go to the consultation accompanied by a family member, friend or a sign language interpreter”. She adds that "a series of tools and protocols have been put in place to allow all these patients to be treated on equal terms, providing them with clear, precise information".

Among the services offered through this new type of consultation are face-to-face general medicine consultations which can be dealt with by a doctor in the vehicular language of the patient’s choice; telematic consultations which can also be dealt with by a specialist in the communicative modality of choice using the video call platform; medical check-ups attended by a team of deaf professionals; specially created accessible information related to the health of deaf people; in addition to talks and training and or educational activities.

This LSE consultation will allow the patient a more reliable, effective diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. You can request an appointment on the Hospiten website, app or through traditional channels, like email.

In the manifesto for the 2021 International Week of Deaf People, the State Confederation of Deaf People (CNSE) highlights the distress suffered by deaf people in the medical environment, which has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Manuel Maynar emphasizes that "the situation has highlighted, more than ever, the invisibility deaf people are subject to in the health environment". He goes on to insist that "in order to achieve effective equality, LSE, clinical videoconferencing and written texts must be brought to the fore”.

For further information: Consulta LSE