The UK hosts an increasingly ethnically and linguistically diverse population, as identified on the most recent Census, with 7.7% of people in England and Wales reporting a main language other than English or Welsh.
Good communication at the end of life is key to improve patient satisfaction, concordance with goals of care and reduce aggressive medical interventions and hospital admissions. GMC good medical practice states that we must give patients information in an understandable and make appropriate arrangements to meet their language and communication needs. NHS guidance indicates that where language barriers exist, patients should be offered a registered interpreter (the use of family and friends is discouraged).
Increasing evidence demonstrates use of professional interpreters positively impacts Low English Proficiency (LEP) patient care with reduced communication errors, enhanced understanding, reduced healthcare access inequity, better clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction.
The Institute of Translation and Interpreting recently acknowledged that interpreters are exposed to challenging and often emotional scenarios in all sectors, which may be having a negative psychological impact. Palliative care can be a highly emotive setting, with risk of psychological distress in professionals working within the field. Professional healthcare interpreters may be asked to interpret challenging conversations, including those around death and dying, and research into the impact on this group is limited.
Most existing research into the role of interpreters, both in and outside of palliative settings, has focused on patient outcomes. Current systematic reviews looking at palliative care and interpreters have not had the emotional impact of interpretation as their primary focus.
Given the benefits of professional healthcare interpreters for LEP patients and the potential consequences of burn out and psychological distress on this workforce, this rapid review aims to provide a timely synthesis of the impact of palliative care conversations on this cohort and make recommendations to enhance interpreter experience.
The aim of this review is to synthesise existing findings into how interpreting palliative care conversations with adult patients affects professional healthcare interpreters, and to make related recommendations for future use of interpreting services within palliative care. This will be achieved by asking:
1. What emotional effects upon professional healthcare interpreters have been identified from interpreting palliative care conversations for adult patients?
2. What recommendations can be made to mitigate the emotional effects of interpreting palliative care conversations for professional healthcare interpreters?
Organisation: WMCARES, University Hospitals Birmingham, Birmingham St Mary's Hospice, University of Warwick