"NO MORE CHRISTIAN DOCTORS"
Notices to Patients
Notices to patients may be posted in waiting or
consulting rooms or made available in other ways. Written notices have some
natural limitations. Some steps can be taken to make them more effective,
and other alternatives or additional steps can be considered.
G1. Reading skills and language
G1.1 Some thought should be given to patients who cannot read or whose
reading skills are such that they will not attempt to read a notice or may
not understand it. This problem is more likely to surface unexpectedly with
G1.2 Practices are, to some extent, already addressing the needs of
patients whose first language is not English. Translation of notices will
benefit patients who do not read English, especially when only one or two
languages other than English are predominant in a practice.
G2. Accepting new patients
G2.1 The process of accepting new patients can be modified to identify
reading and language difficulties that may be of broader concern, as well as
issues concerning scope of practice and freedom of conscience.
G2.2 When a patient is accepted, clerical staff should ascertain whether
or not the patient is fluent in English or has difficulty reading. The
latter is often a sensitive issue, and some assistance in developing an
effective and respectful approach might be had from community organizations
that support the development of literacy.
G2.3 An intake form that is completed by new patients might include a
place for the patient to check off topics that the patient would like to
discuss with a physician. The topics might include those that are of concern
to the physician for reasons of conscience, as well as others that
experience suggests; a blank space can be left for self-generated topics.
This would allow the physician to identify and discuss sensitive issues with
each new patient.
G2.4 An intake form could be provided in precisely the same format in
different languages, so that the physician and clerical staff would be able
to understand most of the responses by referring to the English form (or a
form in their own language).
G2.5 Some patients may require assistance in completing the form. If that
assistance is not provided by the physician during the initial interview or
consultation, it should be provided by clerical staff. In that case, the
need to preserve patient privacy must be considered in policies and design
of office space and waiting room.
G3. Re-directing patients
G3.1 A pamphlet advising patients how to locate other physicians or
access other health care services could be made generally available in the
waiting room. Clerical staff approached by patients as a result of a posted
notice could offer such a pamphlet, perhaps reducing the amount of time
needed to deal with the request and minimizing intrusion on patient privacy.