Interpreters are a vital part of the health system and should be used by health professionals when working with a patient who has limited English proficiency.

In this short video, we show health professionals how to work with interpreters to complete a cognitive assessment for an older person with suspected dementia.

Our key messages are:

  • Direct conversation towards the patient, not the interpreter.
  • Use non-technical language.
  • Use short sentences and allow time for the interpreter to relay what you have just said.
  • At the end of the assessment summarise the key points.
  • Make sure the patient is clear on any issues that need following up.
  • Do not use family members as interpreters.
  • Try to identify/recognise if there are any power dynamics in the family.

Image of three people sitting at a table