If you need communication assistance at the hospital, Health Quest can provide you with a medical interpreter or other ways to talk with your doctor

Being able to communicate back and forth with your medical team through a medical interpreter is an essential component of good hospital care. Federal and New York State laws require that all patients be provided the language services they need to ensure “meaningful access” to medical care. At Health Quest we offer many ways to overcome the barriers that language differences and physical disability can create.

When you arrive for your medical appointment or for general admission to our hospitals, our in-take team will ask you about your language preference or other communication need as a first step to ensure you have effective communication with a care provider.

We offer special interpretive services for non-English speaking, visually impaired, deaf and hard-of-hearing patients. Communication assistance is also available for other impaired patients, for example, quadriplegic patients.

For more information about Spanish translation, see En Español.

Interpretation Assistance

  • In-Person Interpreters: Vassar Brothers Medical Center is our only hospital that offers in-person bilingual interpreters for limited English proficient (LEP) Spanish-speaking patients. These professionals will come to interpret at your consultations with your care provider. They can also help answer your questions about translated forms.
  • Phone-Assisted Interpreters: VBMC, NDH and PHC provide interpreter assistance through an over-the-phone system that provides a live, trained medical interpreter 24/7 within 15 seconds.
  • Monitoring: Sometimes patients who prefer to have a family member or friend translate will decline our services. However, we may still request an interpreter to join your care team to ensure you have understood everything accurately.
  • Spanish Translated Documents: We provide all vital documents in Spanish for our LEP Hispanic patients. These include consent forms, discharge information, financial forms and medical brochures. Additionally, most directional signs are in Spanish to aid in finding your way around the hospital.

Quadriplegic and Restricted Mobility Assistance

We provide several kinds of nurse call devices to help quadriplegic patients and patients with restricted hand/arm mobility effectively communicate:

  • BreathCall®: A small puff of breath will activate the nurse call alert.
  • TouchCall®: A light touch or small movement of head against this device will trigger the alert.
  • PadCall®: The movement of a foot, elbow or wrist will activate the alert.

Your care provider will arrange for the appropriate device that will work best based on their clinical assessment.

Visually Impaired and Special Needs Assistance

When a patient cannot see clearly enough to read documents or has cognitive issues, we offer “qualified readers” at no charge. A qualified reader is a staff member who reads consent forms and other vital documents slowly and articulately and who pauses frequently enough to inquire if the patient understands and/or has any questions. We can also provide a magnifying glass to those who request one.

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Assistance

For those with hearing problems, we offer American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter assistance, a baby monitor for deaf mothers and pocket talkers for hearing assistance.

ASL interpreter assistance includes:
  • Language Line’s “Stratus” video sign interpreter system at VBMC provides immediate and reliable sign language assistance 24/7 until a sign language interpreter arrives on site.
  • American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters are offered and/or provided to all deaf patients. Your care provider will arrange for this assistance prior to your appointment. Or, in case of emergency, he or she will request an ASL interpreter immediately from one of our providers.

For a deaf mother and her newborn, we offer a Baby Cry Monitor, a small cordless unit composed of a sensor placed near the newborn with a monitor attached to the mother. Extremely sensitive to sound, it alerts the mother by vibration to the baby’s sounds. Your care provider will arrange for you to use one during your maternity stay.

If you need voice amplification, we supply a Pocket Talker, which is a cell-phone-sized device with headphones. It is used to amplify sound and filter out non-voices and other ambient noises.

If you use a hearing aid, please bring an extra set of batteries to the hospital. If you need batteries, the hospital will help you get the battery size you need. Please keep in mind our hospital staff is not authorized to change the batteries for you.