Advancing French-language services

Je parle francais button

Giving francophone patients and families the choice to discuss their health care in their own language continued to be an important priority for Hotel Dieu Hospital last year as we moved forward with our multi-year French Language Services (FLS) implementation plan.  Fifteen per cent of the requirements are now in place and more than 50 per cent are underway.

In 2015-16, the hospital again utilized one-time funding from the South East Local Health Integration Network—this past year totalling $46,000—to introduce and expand initiatives designed to making our health services that much more accessible to French-speaking patients and families.

A key target was the translation of patient education and information materials, an ongoing project that resulted in new French-language materials for several clinical programs including diabetes, audiology, gastroenterology and child and adolescent mental health.

Other FLS projects in 2015-2016 included a further overhaul of remaining English-only signage to create bilingual signage, additional FLS testing for staff and the development and introduction of an e-learning module that provides staff with an overview of the province’s FLS legislation, its impact on patients and our progress in working through the steps of our own multi-year work plan to achieve full FLS designation.  More importantly, the new course helps staff to understand—through stories and compelling patient-focused videos—why francophone patients need access to health services in the language of their choice.

In 2016-2017 we aim to have 60 per cent of our FLS implementation plan underway, including multiple human resources initiatives that will help to ensure we have bilingual staff in positions that will best serve our francophone population.

Our steady progress in implementing our FLS plan dovetails with our work to embed patient and family-centred care at Hotel Dieu Hospital.  We know that providing health care in a familiar language—especially when the person is anxious and stressed—is the safe, comforting and right thing to do.