Trend: Hospitals use picture boards to communicate

Hospitals are beginning to use picture boards with non-English speakers to help them make themselves understood. The boards are no substitute for trained translators, of course, but they can help staff collect basic information from patients until a translator can be found. The panels include not only clinical images--suggesting, say pain or a fall--but also may offer a list of languages that the patient can choose from to indicate which they speak.

Increasingly, health leaders are realizing that such boards are an important tool. In New Jersey, for example, the head of the health department is working with the state's hospital association to distribute thousands of the boards. They're passing along the boards not only to hospitals, but also rescue squads and public health clinics. The boards' use is also backed by HHS, which is rolling out a program designed to help hospitals assess and meet patients' communication needs.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this USA Today article

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