Communication Challenges

If You Have a Disability

We are committed to promoting respectful, courteous and successful communications with all our clients and their families. Our Direct Care Workers are trained on effective ways to communicate with individuals who have a wide range of communication challenges such as hearing or vision impairment, dementia, and aphasia (loss of ability to understand or talk due to brain damage, often caused by a stroke). If you have any communication difficulties, we have several options we can consider, including utilizing a:

  • Linguistic Interpreter if you have a different native language
  • Sign Language Interpreter if you have hearing loss
  • Captioner (enables words to be displayed on a screen) if you cannot speak
  • Picture if you cannot speak or hear
Visual Impairment

All documents normally provided to a client will be read verbally by the responsible staff to ensure the client understands the documents.
Support Services can also be obtained by contacting the Center for Blindness and Visual Services Impairment

  • Northcentral: 212 Reach Road Williamsport, PA 17701 570-323-9401 / 866-320-2580
  • Harrisburg: 555 Walnut Street, 8th Floor (Forum Place) Harrisburg, PA 17101 717-787-7500 / 866-375-8264
Hearing Impairment
  1. The client assessment will include an evaluation of client’s ability to hear and also identify what communication method(s) and auxiliary aid(s) the client prefers by use of paper and pencil. This may include:
    • Signing
      • American Sign Language (ASL)
      • Signed Exact English (SEE)
    • Lip Reading
    • Communication board (written word)
    • Gestures and/or pantomime
  2. Client assessment will also include identifying what hearing devices they are currently using.
  3. In the event the deaf/hearing impaired client utilizes sign language as their primary means of communication, the agency will provide at no additional cost to the client a qualified sign language interpreter to communicate both verbal and written information.
    • Family members and friends will not be used as interpreters except in the case when the client has been made aware of the availability of qualified sign language interpreters, at no cost to the client and, without any coercion whatsoever, the client chooses the services of family members or friends.
    • Interpreters can be obtained through The Office on Deafness and Hard of Hearing in Allentown
      • Phone: 484-866-9929; V/TTY (PA only): 800-233-3008;
      • Videophone: 484-866-9929;
      • TTY: 610-821-6111; Fax: 610-821-6110.
    • The choice of the client, their sign language interpreter use, and the presence of an interpreter will be documented after every visit.
  4. The client’s plan of care will identify the client’s communication method of choice and, with the assistance of the Administrator, this will be communicated to all other healthcare providers.
  5. The client/family will receive in writing the types of services that will be provided, who will be providing those services, their rights as it pertains to their plan of care, and how to reach caregivers.
  6. Flashcards may be utilized by the home health aides who provide care with ADL’s including bathing, grooming, dressing and housekeeping tasks such as bed making, dusting and vacuuming, and meal preparation. However, flashcards will be limited to these duties and will not be utilized during review of critical documents or any procedure of a technical nature.
  7. To support clients and family members communicating via text telephones (TTY/TDD’s), our agency utilizes the Pennsylvania Telecommunications Relay Service. This service allows individuals who use TTY/TDD’s to communicate with hearing and speech capable persons, and vice versa, through the assistance of specially trained Communications Assistants. This service is available 24 hours a day/ 7 days per week.
    • To make a relay call: TTY/TDD & voice: 711 TTY/TDD only: (toll free) 1-800-654-5984 Voice only: (toll free) 1-800-654-5988
    • Clients and/or families utilizing text telephones will be provided with this information upon inquiry or admission.
Speech Impairment

In the event a client who has speech impairment requires services, the staff person interviewing this client will evaluate the client’s expressive speech to determine if the client needs supportive services to communicate his or her options.

  • If the patient normally uses communication boards or other assistive devices, such devices can be obtained through the Office on Deafness and Hard of Hearing in Allentown:
  • Phone: 484-866-9929; V/TTY (PA only): 800-233-3008
  • Videophone: 484-866-9929; TTY: 610-821-6111
  • Fax: 610-821-6110
  • Harrisburg Office: Ph/TTY: 717-783-4912 or Fax: 717-783-4913.

If You Have Limited English

If English is not your native language and you have no knowledge, or a limited knowledge, of English, then it is important that you grasp the concepts of everything involved when you become our client. This includes an understanding of:

  • your medical conditions and plan of care
  • information contained in important documents including what:
    • a waiver of rights is and means
    • giving your informed consent to services means
  • your financial responsibilities are
  • financial and/or insurance benefits are available, if applicable
  • the terms of the service are
  • your rights and protections are
  • your responsibilities are
  • our responsibilities are
  • the terms of our joint Service Agreement

If you do not have anyone who can serve as translator or interpreter, we will arrange for assistance from one or more of the following:

  • competent, bilingual staff
  • staff interpreters
  • arrangements with local interpretation or translation services
  • telephonic interpretation services

CareSphere utilizes a translation service called "Language Line" which will be provided at no cost to the LEP individual (client). Instructions on how to use the service is as follows:

To connect using any phone:
  1. Dial (888) 808-9008
  2. Enter our 8-digit PIN 43913018
  3. At the prompt, clearly state the name of the language you need (for example, Spanish).
To connect using the application:
  1. Download the application from the app store for iOS or Android, or visit languageline on your browser.
  2. Enter this authentication code: VW8-FHQ-896X
  3. Choose the language, then select the video or audio option

Professional interpreters are available in 36 languages including American Sign Language for video and 240 languages in audio.

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