Exploring the barriers and facilitators to health care services and health care information for deaf people in Worcester

Kritzinger, Janis (2011-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The deaf community face similar access barriers to health care services and information as do other linguistic minority groups. Amongst others, this includes limited access to English communication, misunderstanding of medical terminology, irregular contact with health care professionals of the same language and cultural background and the need to overcome the challenges experienced by using others as interpreters in a health care setting. Barriers to the written and spoken word limit access to health care information as deaf people cannot overhear conversations, have limited access to mass media and present with low literacy rates. The South African Constitution stipulates that every citizen has an equal right to health care services and should not be unfairly discriminated against, on the basis of language. Unfortunately, despite what is written in the Constitution, the reality is that many South Africans are denied equal access or receive compromised access to health care services because of language barriers. The lack of access to interpreters at health care facilities across South Africa inhibits patients from expressing themselves correctly and limits the providers’ professional ability to make a correct diagnosis and provide relevant information. The current study explores the barriers and facilitators to accessing health care services and health care information for people who are deaf in a relatively well-resourced setting. A sample of deaf participants from the National Institute for the Deaf in Worcester were interviewed to gain an understanding of problems experienced with accessing health care services and health care information. Participants reported communication and socio-economic factors as barriers to accessing health care services. The main barrier to accessing health care information was considered to be the inaccessibility of the mass media. Recommendations were made by participants on ways to improve access to health care services and health care information for the deaf population of South Africa. Keywords: Health care acces, Health care information, Deaf, Worcester, Barriers and facilitators to health care services.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die dowe gemeenskap ervaar soortgelyke struikelblokke as ander linguistiese minderheidsgroepe met toegang tot gesondheidsdienste en inligting. Dit sluit onder andere in beperkte toegang tot Engelse kommunikasie, wanbegrip van mediese terminologie, ongereelde kontak met mediese dienspraktisyne van dieselfde taal en kulturele agtergrond, en die uitdaging wat oorkom moet word om ander mense te gebruik as tussenganger en tolk in ’n mediese situasie. Hindernisse met geskrewe- en spreektaal beperk die toegang tot gesondheidsinligting. Dowe mense kan nie na gesprekke luister nie, het beperkte toegang tot massamedia en vertoon oor die algemeen 'n laer geletterdheidsprofiel. Die Suid Afrikaanse Grondwet stipuleer dat elke burger ’n gelyke reg tot gesondheidsdienste het en verbied onregverdige diskriminasie op grond van taal. Ten spyte van die Grondwet is die realiteit dat baie Suid Afrikaners nie gelyke toegang het nie en ’n laer vlak van mediese dienslewering ervaar as gevolg van taalprobleme. Die ontoereikende beskikbaarheid van tolke by gesondheidsfasiliteite reg oor Suid Afrika beperk die vermoë van pasiënte om hulself behoorlik uit te druk. Dit beperk daarom ook die mediese praktisyn se vermoë om ’n korrekte diagnose te maak en relevante inligting rakende die diagnose aan die pasiënt oor te dra. In die huidige studie is die struikelblokke en fasiliteerders vir toegang tot gesondheidsdienste en inligting ondersoek vir dowe mense in ’n relatief goed toegeruste omgewing. ’n Steekproef van dowe deelnemers is by die Nasionale Instituut vir Dowes in Worcester geselekteer. Deur middel van onderhoude is die probleme wat ondervind word met toegang tot gesondheidsdienste en gesondheidsinformasie geïdentifiseer. Deelnemers het kommunikasie en sosio-ekonomiese faktore as struikelblokke tot die toegang van gesondheidsdienste geïdentifiseer. Die grootste struikelblok met toegang tot mediese inligting was die beperkte toegang tot massamedia. Voorstelle is deur die deelnemers gemaak vir die verbetering van die toeganklikheid tot mediese dienslewering en gesondheidsinligting vir die dowe populasie in Suid Afrika.

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