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American Sign Language (ASL)

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpretation for Patients with Hearing and Speech Conditions

Effective communication between patients and their care team is the foundation of quality healthcare. To support communication between care teams and individuals with hearing and speech concerns, AHS offers interpretation services both in person, and by video. AHS will ensure that the most appropriate and accessible mode of interpretation is used for each patient. Decision making considers accessibility of the services, unique circumstances of each patient’s care situation and time sensitivity.

Video Remote Interpretation (VRI)

Video remote interpretation is on-demand access to trained professional medical American Sign Language interpreters, by video, offered on an iPad or tablet. 

AHS is in the process of implementing this technology in facilities across the province and currently has more than 70 units in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer. At these sites, video interpretation is now available 24/7. This immediate accessibility is enabling staff to communicate effectively with patients in a timely manner to ensure they continue to receive quality and appropriate care.

As we roll out the VRI units across AHS sites, we are moving towards VRI being the main way that we will provide ASL interpretation services, unless there are unique circumstances where VRI would not be effective and face-to-face is deemed more appropriate.

Face-to-Face Interpretation

Face-to-face interpretation is primarily available in Edmonton and Calgary. If a patient is located in a rural area, interpretation services are delivered through Telehealth or video remote interpretation in most cases, unless the healthcare provider determines that an in-person interpreter is the most appropriate approach to a patient’s situation.