Interpreters from ProHealth Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital and professionals from ProHealth Care’s Hispanic Health Resource Center are a lifeline to care and resources for Latino patients and community members, particularly those whose primary language is Spanish.
“We have seen a spike in COVID-19 cases in Waukesha County,” said Saul Juarez Aguilar, manager of care management. “Many community members are scared to seek basic services because of the coronavirus. We say, we can help you and let’s stay safe together.”
Among non-English speakers served by ProHealth, Spanish is the most prevalent language. In the U.S., COVID-19 has affected three times as many Latinos as white people who are not Latino. People who do not speak English may be hesitant to contact a health care provider because of language and cultural barriers.
The ProHealth interpreters serve hospital, home care, clinic, urgent care and emergency department patients. The services often are being provided by phone during the pandemic, but they can be provided in person when needed.
The staff also have provided Spanish interpretation for Waukesha County public health and National Guard drive-through COVID-19 testing. In addition, ProHealth is providing virtual diabetes prevention workshops and chronic disease programs in Spanish during the pandemic.
ProHealth leaders have been in close contact with representatives from federal, state and local public health agencies, free clinics, nonprofit community organizations and local schools and universities in support of Latino patients and community members throughout the pandemic.