Healthcare Service Provision With an Interpreter in the Context of a Health Crisis

Healthcare Service Provision With an Interpreter in the Context of a Health Crisis: a Scoping Review

Researchers: Naïma Bentayeb (IU-SHERPA, ENAP, McGill), Mónica Ruiz-Casares (McGill, IU-SHERPA), Yvan Leanza (ULaval), Mélanie M. Gagnon (CERDA), Jill Hanley (McGill, IU-SHERPA)

Research assistants and professionals: Andrée-Anne Beaudoin Julien (ULaval); Christina Klassen, (McGill); Eric Lachappelle (UMontréal); Mathieu Grou-Leclerc, (UMontréal); Teodora Constantinescu (CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-L’Île-de-Montréal)

Funding:  SHERPA University Institute, Centre d'expertise sur le bien-être et l'état de santé physique des réfugiés et des demandeurs d'asile, Centre for Research on Children and Families  - McGill University 

The social issue: A large proportion of the immigrant population speak neither French nor English when they arrive in Quebec. The issue of communication and the language barrier for these people are determinants of the delivery of health and social services. Although the literature is abundant on interpretation in health and social services, few or no studies have focused on interpretation in the context of a health crisis, and none in Quebec. Many issues (e.g., confidentiality, access to computers and Internet, etc.) would affect service accessibility for this population. The project aimed to identify best practices developed to maintain service quality and efficiency in the context of a health crisis.

What have been done?: The team conducted a scoping review to explore the existing literature on the issues faced by health and social service providers regarding remote interpretation and interpretation in times of crisis. Twenty-eight publications were ultimately included in a qualitative synthesis of the literature. The synthesis explored the crisis context, parameters for working with an interpreter, interpretation modalities in times of crisis, and the importance of training interpreters and providers.

Our contributions to the literature :

  • This scoping review has made it possible to map the literature on the subject of intervention in the presence of an interpreter in times of crisis and to identify promising practices and conditions for success in those settings.

    The larger research project of which this Scoping Review is part, aims to document the intervention with interpreters with allophone service users during the COVID-19 pandemic in Quebec. Eleven institutions within the health and social services network as well as several groups and community organizations participated in the study. More than 500 clinicians and 100 interpreters responded to an online questionnaire, thus enriching the scoping review results. The questionnaire results will be available soon. 

Consult the infographics produced, available in French and English.

The infographics present the following five themes:

  • Role of an interpreter
  • Appreciation of the interpreter
  • Interpreting strategies
  • Technology and interpreting
  • Training