Suggestions for strategies when communicating via in-person interpreters: A qualitative study on communication within home care services in Sweden

Elisabeth Björk Brämberg, Lars Sandman


The aim of this study was to explore and suggest strategies for communicating via in-person interpreters, based on experiences of professional home care providers (i.e. nurses and nurse assistants) and social workers. Home care services with its multifaceted emphasis on physical, psychological, social aspects of care and focus on quality of life for the patients presents a challenge for successful interpreted communication as the communication have to cover a wide variety of topics. Previous studies have shown that non-medical issues tend to be less communicated about when using interpreters. The study has an interpretative design, and data were collected in seven focus groups interviews with registered nurses, assistant nurses and social workers in home care services. Data were analysed by means of inductive content analysis. The results reveal suggestions for strategies: making preparations for structure and transparency, creating a flowing conversation on multifaceted topics, forming an understanding of the patient’s voice and limiting the information content. This study concludes that the home care providers and social workers need to be prepared for communication via an interpreter about complex phenomena, that communicating information via an interpreter requires preparation prior to the meeting, as well as being an active part in the conversation. Infrequent use of professional interpreters could threaten the possibilities for care providers and social workers to communicate with linguistic diverse patients in an optimal way.


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Clinical Nursing Studies
ISSN 2324-7940(Print)   ISSN 2324-7959(Online)

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