Evidence-based approaches to breaking down language barriers

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LANGUAGE BARRIERS between nurses and patients increasingly affect nursing practice, regardless of where care is delivered. In the United States, a language other than English is now spoken at home in one of five households, the highest level since just after World War I.1 Patients with limited English skills are referred to as patients with limited English proficiency (LEP).
This article provides background information about language barriers between nurses and patients and some strategies for addressing these gaps. After detailing how these barriers affect patient outcomes, practice-based strategies are offered to improve outcomes and reduce readmissions. Although the article doesn't address barriers to communicating with patients with hearing loss, many of the same principles apply to these patients.
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