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Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery:
doi: 10.1097/SPV.0b013e318288ac1c
Original Articles

Communication Barriers Among Spanish-Speaking Women With Pelvic Floor Disorders: Lost in Translation?

Khan, Aqsa A. MD*; Sevilla, Claudia MD*; Wieslander, Cecilia K. MD; Moran, Meghan B. PhD; Rashid, Rezoana BS§; Mittal, Brita BS*; Maliski, Sally L. RN, PhD*; Rogers, Rebecca G. MD; Anger, Jennifer T. MD, MPH§

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Abstract

Objectives

The purpose of our study was to evaluate barriers in communication and disease understanding among office staff and interpreters when communicating with Spanish-speaking women with pelvic floor disorders.

Methods

We conducted a qualitative study to evaluate barriers to communication with Spanish-speaking women with pelvic floor disorders among office staff and interpreters. Sixteen office staff and interpreters were interviewed; interview questions focused on experiences with Spanish-speaking patients with pelvic floor disorders in the clinic setting. Interview transcripts were analyzed qualitatively using grounded theory methodology.

Results

Analysis of the interview transcripts revealed several barriers in communication as identified by office staff and interpreters. Three major classes were predominant: patient, interpreter, and system-related barriers. Patient-related barriers included a lack of understanding of anatomy and medical terminology and inhibited discussions due to embarrassment. Provider-related barriers included poor interpreter knowledge of pelvic floor vocabulary and the use of office staff without interpreting credentials. System-related barriers included poor access to information. From these preliminary themes, an emergent concept was revealed: it is highly likely that Spanish-speaking women with pelvic floor disorders have poor understanding of their condition owing to multiple obstacles in communication.

Conclusions

There are many levels of barriers to communications with Latin women treated for pelvic floor disorders, arising from the patient, interpreter, and the system itself. These barriers contribute to a low level of understanding of their diagnosis, treatment options, and administered therapies.

Copyright © 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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