The words used in healthcare to communicate to patients, either in person or in writing, can significantly impact patient safety.
From the barriers created by jargon to phrases that dismiss, offend or stem from bias, the case for health information to be clear, accessible and inclusive has been made time and again.
In this blog, we've picked out seven resources that have been shared on the hub, to highlight just a few ways language can affect a patient's journey, and ultimately their safety.
Click on each heading to access the relevant content.
In this BMJ article, Caitríona Cox and Zoë Fritz argue that outdated medical language that casts doubt, belittles, or blames patients jeopardises the therapeutic relationship and is overdue for change.
This resource collection from the National Institute for Health and Care Research includes research on the impact of unclear health messages, how we can help people understand health information and which groups of the population may need extra support.
In episodes 22 and 23 of the Obs Pod podcast, obstetrician Florence Wilcock discusses how the language used in her field can have a detrimental impact on the women and families being cared for.
This guidance by NHS England sets out practical examples of language that will encourage positive interactions with people living with diabetes and subsequently positive outcomes.
“Words can invite people in, or keep them out”. Listen to this five minute podcast about why language matters and the impact this has on people who access services, hosted by Linda Doherty from Think Local, Act Personal.
6. "We couldn’t talk to her”: a qualitative exploration of the experiences of UK midwives when navigating women’s care without language
Women with little-to-no English continue to have poor birth outcomes and low service user satisfaction. When language support services are used it enhances the relationship between the midwife and the woman, improves outcomes and ensures safer practice. This study aims to understand the experiences of midwives using language support services.
Based on research conducted by Healthwatch, this report examines the difficulties that patients with little or no English encounter at every stage of their healthcare journey.
Have your say
Have you ever been affected by the language used in healthcare?
Perhaps you've felt excluded or offended by the words used. Or maybe you have an example of how clear and inclusive language made you feel safer as a patient? You might be a member of staff who has made changes to the way they communicate face-to-face or in writing to help improve outcomes and strengthen patient-provider relationships.