Brief Communication

Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 769-771

Emergency Communications within the Limited English Proficient Chinese Community

  • Mei-Po YipAffiliated withDivision of General Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of WashingtonMS 359780, Department of Medicine, University of Washington
  • , Rebecca E. CalhounAffiliated withDepartment of Health Services, Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, University of Washington Email author 
  • , Ian S. PainterAffiliated withDepartment of Health Services, Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, University of Washington
  • , Hendrika W. MeischkeAffiliated withDepartment of Health Services, Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, University of Washington
  • , Shin-Ping TuAffiliated withDivision of General Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington

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Abstract

Limited English speaking communities face communication challenges during emergencies. Our objective was to investigate Chinese limited English proficiency individuals’ perceptions of and inclination to interact with emergency communication systems. A telephone survey was conducted in Mandarin or Cantonese with 250 ethnic Chinese individuals who spoke little or no English. Respondents who spoke no English were less likely to name 9-1-1 as their first source of help for a medical emergency than those who spoke some English (p < 0.01). Those reporting higher levels of confidence in handling the situation were more likely to name 9-1-1 as their first source of help, as were those who listed 9-1-1 as their most trusted source of help (p < 0.01). For this group, the results indicate that calling 9-1-1 may require a sense of self-efficacy. Not calling 9-1-1 in a medical emergency can have serious health consequences, thus interventions are needed to increase confidence in accessing 9-1-1.

Keywords

Underserved populations English proficiency Emergency preparedness Telephone survey Chinese-Americans