Intervenors at a Doctor appointment

I want to quickly get this blog done regarding intervenors at a doctor appointment, then I’ll move on to something else.

An intervenor is a professional job that allows DeafBlind individuals to be fully aware of what is happening in the environment.  The Intervenor acts as eyes and ears to those who’s eyes and ears are, well, not working.  DeafBlind individuals have a loss of both vision and hearing.

Working in a medical situation takes a lot of skill and knowledge.  Information must be made clear and nothing must be left out.  This applies to Doctors, Nurses, support staff, and interpreters.  When I say Interpreters, I mean those who interpret verbal (example Russian, or Korean) or visual (ASL or LSQ) language.  An intervenor falls under the category (in my humble opinion) of interpreter.  An intervenor would add more visual information, offer guiding, and reading of documents.

I do know that ASL, and probably other language, interpreters must pass a screening test before they are considered for medical appointments.  It seems not the case for intervenors.

When I was in Toronto, I started using interpreters for medical appointments, then switched to intervenors.  During the last year there, I used both intervenors and interpreters for medical appointments.

  • I have had many horror stories of intervenors in medical situations.  Some would oversimplify the doctors comments or instructions.
  • I have signed a basic sign only to be asked by the intervenor: “What is that?  I don’t know that sign.”.
  • I have had intervenors show up unprepared for the appointment.  When I book intervenors, I usually tell them what the appointment is for. This gives them an opportunity to prepare, interpreters usually have prep time added to their salary, an intervenor, as I understand it, is not paid prep time.
  • I have also had an intervenor speak for himself at a medical appointment. This is a important rule that must never be broken.  The intervenor is not there for self, only for the client.  This incident was when the intervenor, who did not understand CAPOS and its scientific words, told me to get a document that I showed him before the meeting and give it to the doctor while I was in the middle of explaining Pes Cavus. I am sure that he broke rule because I was outlining CAPOS, I said nothing about a document (which I showed the intervenor before the appointment then put it away) to the doctor. Yes, an interpreter can ask for clarification, that is acceptable: “Do you mean…” or “Can you spell that…”.
  • I have had Intervenors who were unclear about treatments, and therefore I did not follow correct instructions.
  • I have had intervenors did an super excellent job by being clear, close range, no summarizing, adding visual and auditory information as needed.

Now in Vancouver, I will go back to, I have to, no choice, using interpreters in all medical situations!

Comments are welcome!

Thank you!


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