Multilingualism in the healthcare system

Subproject of the "Multilingualism as a resource of the sustainable university" research association, in collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable University (KNU) of the University of Hamburg

Sponsor: University of Hamburg

Duration: 12 months (2015/07‐ 2016/06)

Keywords: multilingualism, migrants, non-German-speaking patients

Given the numerous resources and challenges linguistic diversity entails, this research project aims to examine multilingualism in patient care at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). The main research questions are: What language resources are available to employees? Which linguistic requirements exist on the part of patients? What are the current practices and needs to support non-German speaking patients?

A self-assessment questionnaire, which was completed by the staff of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy and the Medical Clinic of Oncology and Hematology, was used to provide a systematic database in order to make empirically informed statements about resources and requirements concerning language support and existing barriers in clinical practice.

Additionally, a comprehensive review of the literature on the effectiveness of linguistic mediation in in-patient and out-patient medical care, an analysis of existing professional models of linguistic mediation in the health care system and an analysis of existing training opportunities for medical staff regarding multicultural aspects of health care were conducted.

Responsible for the Project