Addressing the Needs of Migrant Workers in ICUs in Singapore

Lim, Crystal, Zhou, Jamie Xuelian, Woong, Natalie Liling, Chiam, Min and Krishna, Lalit Kumar Radha ORCID: 0000-0002-7350-8644
(2020) Addressing the Needs of Migrant Workers in ICUs in Singapore. Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development, 7. 238212052097719 - 238212052097719.

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<jats:sec><jats:title>Background:</jats:title><jats:p> With nearly 400 000 migrant workers in Singapore, many from Bangladesh, India and Myanmar, language and cultural barriers posed a great many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was especially so as majority of the COVID-19 clusters in Singapore emerged from their communal dormitories. With concerns arising as to how this minority group could be best cared for in the intensive care units, the need for medical interpreters became clear. </jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Main:</jats:title><jats:p> In response, the Communication and Supportive Care (CSC) workgroup at the Singapore General Hospital developed the ‘Medical Interpreters Training for ICU Conversations’ program. Led by a medical social worker-cum-ethicist and 2 palliative care physicians, twenty volunteers underwent training. The program comprised of 4 parts. Firstly, volunteers were provided with an overview of challenges within the COVID-19 isolation ICU environment. Discussed in detail were common issues between patients and families, forms of distress faced by healthcare workers, family communication modality protocols, and the sociocultural demographics of Singapore’s migrant worker population. Secondly, key practice principles and ‘Do’s/Don’ts’ in line with the ethical principles of medical interpretation identified by the California Healthcare Interpreters Association were shared. Thirdly, practical steps to consider before, during and at the end of each interpretation session were foregrounded. Lastly, a focus group discussion on the complexities of ICU cases and their attending issues was conducted. Targeted support was further provided in response to participant feedback and specific issues raised. </jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Conclusion:</jats:title><jats:p> As a testament to its efficacy, the program has since been extended to the general wards and the Ministry of Health in Singapore has further commissioned similar programs in various hospitals. In-depth training on the fundamentals of medical terminology, language and cultural competency should be provided to all pertinent healthcare workers and hospitals should consider hiring medical interpreters in permanent positions. </jats:p></jats:sec>

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2021 10:25
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2021 12:04
DOI: 10.1177/2382120520977190
Open Access URL: