When in doubt, ask
December 7, 2023
7 December 2023
A Francophone told us about her partner’s experience after undergoing heart surgery in a partially designated hospital.
A Francophone told us about her partner’s experience after undergoing heart surgery in a partially designated hospital. Her partner received follow-up calls in English from the surgeon, nurses and physical therapist, even though he had asked to receive care in French. We raised these issues with managers in the relevant departments. We discovered that the patient’s preferred language in the hospital’s computer system was English, as the referral form did not ask patients for their preferred language, so English was assigned by default.
RESULT: As a result of our intervention, the hospital changed the patient’s preferred language in its system and sent out a reminder asking employees who enter patient data from the form to confirm patients’ preferred language of communication. We contacted Ontario Health to discuss the referral form and prevent this same situation from happening to other Francophones. Ontario Health confirmed that they would add a language preference field to the form soon. We are keeping an eye on this issue in the meantime.
Learn more about the French Language Services Unit which answers questions and takes complaints about services in French.
Read about how we helped other people in our Selected cases.