Boston Children's Hospital has taken important steps to help our staff better understand the different beliefs, values and needs of our patients. Among them are diversity training and the development of multicultural guides to aid in our understanding of different cultures and religions.
One of these guides is Honoring Patient Preferences, an award-winning guide that helps staff meet the needs of patients and families. The guide provides detailed information on different cultural and religious traditions, and offers tools to help clinicians better serve multicultural patients and their families.
Children's has also developed resources for caregivers that help them work with non-traditional families, including children with gay or lesbian parents or patients who are gay or lesbian themselves; foster families; grandparent-headed families; and other non-traditional families, who may face unique social pressures and may be concerned about bias from health care providers.
Children's 13 full-time interpreters speak Spanish, Russian, Cantonese, Mandarin and Arabic, as well as communicate through American Sign Language. They provide nearly 50,000 translations annually. Through arrangements with other hospitals and more than 100 on-call freelance interpreters, we can translate more than 45 languages and 15 dialects.
The Center for Families
When a child is hospitalized, the whole family experiences emotional, social and financial stress. The Center for Families staff helps all of Children's patients and families deal with these stresses.
The Center for Families also offers a library of non-English books and magazines, Family Education Sheets, a guide to the hospital and the Activity Guide for Children.
The International Center
The International Center provides a single point of contact and resources for patients and families from around the world, and creates a home away from home for our international visitors so they can focus on their child's health. The center's multicultural staff coordinates all medical and non-medical services, including:
- Providing clinical staff with detailed patient medical histories
- Arranging for interpreters
- Dealing with insurers and making financial arrangements
- Assisting with travel arrangements, visa applications and customs
- Locating temporary housing
The Chaplaincy represents a variety of faith traditions: Muslim, Jewish, Protestant, Anglican and Roman Catholic. Chaplains are available 24 hours a day to offer spiritual and emotional support to children and their families, with sensitive consideration given to families' religious traditions and primary languages.
The Interfaith Chapel on Farley 1 is always open for prayer and meditation and we offer faith-specific worship services for patients and their families. Rosaries, electric Sabbath candles, skullcaps, prayer rugs and cushions, and scriptures/prayer books in many languages are available upon request.
Chaplains assist families with religious, as well as dietary, needs in the hospital setting. They are happy to connect families with local faith communities if requested.
We offer services for both adolescent girls and boys. The Center for Young Women's Health (CYWH) provides health information for adolescent girls in Spanish and English. CYWH's three diverse peer leaders also make frequent presentations to community teen groups on health topics such as nutrition, depression and safety. The Young Men's Health Web site provides carefully researched health information to teenage boys and young men on health issues such as fitness and nutrition, health and development, sexuality and emotional health. The Teen Advisory Committee (TAC), led by current and former teen and young adult patients, provides a forum where teens can voice their thoughts and concerns about their care at the hospital. TAC also provides resources for patients at the hospital such as games and parties.
Children's worked with the Boston Public Health Commission to create the How-To Guide to Children's Mental Health Services in Massachusetts. Available in Spanish and English, the guide assists parents in navigating the complex mental health care system and caring for children suffering from mental illness. For copies, call Children's Office of Child Advocacy at (617) 355-6090 or download a copy.
Other clinical departments, including Oncology and Cardiology, have resource rooms where patients and families can find translated materials about the medical conditions they treat and services they offer.