St. Louis is one of the largest “free case” resettlement communities in the Midwest with a growing number — close to 100,000 — of refugees and immigrants making the greater metropolitan region their home. “Free case” refugees are people who come to the community as the first members of their family to be resettled and they are assisted by voluntary agencies to get settled into their new home, become employed and give back to the region once they are able. Many refugees come from places overseas with poor or non-existent health services and often require medical care soon after they arrive in St. Louis.
The need for interpreter services and culturally sensitive care is great. Cultural and language barriers can lead to readmissions for the same condition, medication errors, delayed treatment, and inappropriate testing. These barriers are bridged by a multicultural team of nearly 30 interpreters, a women’s health coordinator, a health outreach team and a nurse. This team provides services to patients and their families through at least 42,000 encounters each year in more than 80 languages. As part of the Center for Diversity and Cultural Competence, the interpreter service can also address the patient’s unique cultural needs.
Services through Refugee Health at Barnes-Jewish Hospital include screenings, case management, outreach health services including the nationally recognized Daylight Project and patient and provider education. Our goal is to reduce barriers to health care for those with linguistic and cultural differences. Many patients are referred to the Refugee Health Service from agencies around the St. Louis area.
Interpreter services are available 24 hours a day for patients who need help with language assistance or who have special cultural needs. These services are available at no charge. Our on-site, qualified interpreters are staff members of Barnes-Jewish Hospital who understand patients’ unique social and cultural needs. Interpreter services are arranged by the physician’s office, the emergency department or nursing divisions. Services are provided onsite (in person) or by telephone or video. In addition to the spoken language interpreter team, a sign language interpreter team provides interpretation in ASL, ESL, tactile sign and PSE and is available to assist with communication barriers for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.
Document translation is available. In addition to critical and routine materials, the department provides document translation for patient specific needs such as care instructions and educational materials.
For assistance in Refugee Health or Interpreter Services, please call (314) 747-5682.