Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) has been dedicating countless time and resources towards emergency preparedness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The most visible evidence are the triage screening tents that have been set up in the parking lots at both YRMC East in Prescott Valley and YRMC West in Prescott.

Less visible, but critically important, are the added safeguards that YRMC offers to the members of our community who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) is a service that has been in place at YRMC long before the pandemic began. iPads are available that connect to an interpreter via FaceTime. The iPad is on a stand that swivels and is height adjustable so that family members and others who are in the room can be included in the conversation. VRI allows live interpreting for various languages, including sign language.

YRMC is also contracted with a company for tactile interpreters. Tactile interpreting, for deaf or hard of hearing people who are also blind, consists of making signs into a person’s hand so that they can feel what is being said.

However, healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic brings an added and unique set of concerns for the deaf and hard of hearing. YRMC is ready to meet those needs.

“We have developed a brochure that outlines all of YRMC’s interpreter services,” says YRMC Corporate Compliance Coordinator Becca Hansen. “And we have made sure that they are highly visible and readily available in the triage tents in our parking lots as well as in the hospital and outpatient offices. Our staff is ready to help connect you to the services you need as soon as possible.”

While, understandably, healthcare providers are wearing masks to help prevent the spread of the virus, our community members who rely on lip reading may have concerns that they won’t be able to understand what is being said.

“This is another instance where we would provide VRI,” says Hansen. “The live interpreter, via FaceTime, can translate what is being said by the healthcare provider in real time.”

Two VRI iPads are available in each of the screening and triage tents on both hospital campuses.

Hansen says, “We want our community to know that we will do anything we can to provide effective communication for all of our patients. We want you to know that you are not alone in these uncertain times. We’re in this together.”

For more information about the services available for the deaf and hard of hearing at YRMC, you can email the Corporate Compliance Office at corporatecompliance@ yrmc.org or call (928) 771-5688.