According to a Jerusalem Post article, directors from Coney Island Hospital spoke at an event hosted by the Jerusalem Intercultural Center about cultural competency.
Like New York, Jerusalem is incredibly diverse with a multitude of languages. Unlike in New York, hospitals there are not effective at meeting the linguistic and cultural demands of its population. According to the article, a significant portion of patients receive sub-standard care or poor post-treatment care because of the language barrier. Simply put, patients can’t understand instructions, and doctors can’t understand medical complaints. Most of those who suffer because of this are Arabic speaking Palestinians, but it also includes the Yiddish-speaking haredi community, and people from a variety of other backgrounds who speak languages like Amharic, Russian, French and Spanish. To help publicize the issue, the Jerusalem Intercultural Center and the Jerusalem Foundation have launched an initiative to encourage cultural competency, including bringing over doctors from our local hospital:
Recently, the Jerusalem Intercultural Center hosted senior directors from the Coney Island Hospital in New York City, introduced to us through our collaborative work with Rabbi Bob Kaplan of CAUSE-NY, an organization committed to the availability of health services in New York. In compliance with the law, signs at the hospital appear in five languages, and anyone entering the hospital is entitled to receive hospital services in his or her own language. Sometimes a translator is present in the room and other times (with more obscure languages) translation is provided through a phone service, called tele-interpretation.
The hospital has a synagogue, a Christian church, a mosque and a Hindu temple – in accordance with the needs of the communities that it serves. Kosher food is provided for Jews and halal food for Muslims. In the case of Indians and Pakistanis, the food is prepared and spiced in a way that is suitable for their palate.
No matter what you think of the quality of care at Coney Island Hospital (and opinions certainly do vary), it’s model of multi-culturalism is laudable.