Fit & Well: Language Services with St. Luke's Magic Valley

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TWIN FALLS, Id. ( KMVT/KSVT ) Communication comes pretty easy for most of us, but for some, whether it be hearing or language barriers, communicating can be frustrating and stressful.

In this week's Fit and Well Idaho we sat down with officials with St. Luke's Language Services as they share the crucial communication resources available to these individuals and their families.

Keith Drown was born unable to hear.

He's spent years finding ways to better communicate in all areas of his life--one of those areas being healthcare and communicating with his doctors.

"We didn't actually have any technology in the past. We would just write back in forth, or someone in our family would interpret for us, but now adays we have much better technology," signed Keith Drown.

St. Luke's has access to Video Remote Interpretation for patients, which is also known as V.R.I.

With over 30 interpreters on staff, on sight and telephone interpretation is also available.

One of those tools is called the Marti. It's one of the newer interpreting tools used at the hospital.

In addition to services for the hearing impaired, St Luke's helps patients who speak different languages.

When Malena Rodriguez came to the United States, she didn't speak any english.

Rodriguez is now the manager of the Language Services department at the hospital.

She says her own experience is what makes her passionate about helping others who may be experiencing similar struggles she overcame.

"I know what it is like to be in those shoes. Not to be able to communicate, the frustrations, being so scared of how you're going to communicate with your doctors or nurses, especially when you're so sick, and vulnerable. I've been there," explained Rodriguez.

The Language Service Department is currently working to implement iPads into their system which would give patients almost instant access to V.R.I.

What's neat about all of these services is that they are free of charge to patients as well as their families.

Rodriguez says her department is constantly looking for new technology and tools to help patients comfortably communicate their health needs.