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Susy Molano, CMI explains the different types of support services available to families with limited English proficiency.

There are no limits to care

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Virginia García (Presenter): As part of an international health care system dedicated to providing high-quality care to children beyond the family's ability to afford services, Shriners Hospital for Children Portland children's hospitals strive to break down those barriers to accessing care, and to seek to establish a strong support and containment network for children everywhere. To meet these needs, the Portland Shriners Hospital utilizes the help of medical interpreters who ensure that patients and their families from various cultural backgrounds feel supported during their visit.

Today we welcome Susy Molano, who is a Portland Shriners Hospital Certified Medical Interpreter. Susy joins us to give us a detailed look at the services offered at the hospital and how that care provided is available to patients and families of all backgrounds.

This podcast is shared to you by courtesy of Shriners hospital for children Portland. Thank you for joining our podcast today, Susy. Let's start by talking a little about the specialized care that is offered at the hospital where you work. What kinds of conditions are treated at Portland Shriners hospital and who can benefit from such services?

Susy Molano (guest): It’s a pleasure being here with you, Virginia, and I love the idea of being able to tell families what we do here at the Portland Shriners Hospital for Children. We help all children from 0 to 18 years old, and we specialize in orthopedic aspects. We simply know about bones, muscles and joints. We also help children who need certain plastic surgeries. I am going to explain very briefly what we do.

Everything related to deformities of the feet, legs, hands, arms, fingers, chest, curvatures in the back, spina bifida, muscle atrophy issues and other neuromuscular diseases, orthopedic problems related to cerebral palsy, maybe some type of deformity or absence of arms or legs, tumors in the muscles or in the skeleton, motor problems when walking, and also as I said we have plastic surgery services for reconstruction of, when children are wounded or burned, and need reconstructive surgeries and we also work with children with cleft lip and palate.

Presenter: Tell us now about the hospital, Susy, because we often hear of the very natural and family centered environment that you offer at Portland Shriners Hospital, but what does this mean? And how is this approach experienced by patients and by their families as well?

Susy Molano: One of the important things about the Portland Shriners Hospital for Children is that we are focused on the family. The doctors and everyone understands that families know the patients best, thus everything we do, all the care services that are provided here are always involving and communicating the families the whole process. On the other hand, the hospital provides a variety of services in the same place, in such a way that it is more convenient for families to be here because they save time, care is better, communication is easier with the different providers of medical services, so as to make it easier for families and they also count on us as a group of medical interpreters who have been here for a long time in the hospital, we know the needs and resources that can be provided to families.

Presenter: What kind of services specifically...? What types of support services are available specifically to Latino families, Susy? Perhaps their English is limited, could you tell us a little more about the role of Spanish medical interpreters the hospital?

Susy Molano: Absolutely. We are with the patient from the moment they arrive at the hospital for the first time, until they leave their appointment. We are throughout the registration process, when they see the doctors, go to the X-ray department to take X-rays, we are permanently with them, we help them navigate the hospital and we help them make their appointments, etc. In such a way that people always have our services and we help them and collaborate with them, and navigate with them within the hospital for whatever they need.

Presenter: And it's worth noting that you Portland Shriners Hospital interpreters are certified medical interpreters, and that you are also considered part of the healthcare team. Could you explain to us, Susy, how this distinction places you at another level of care at Portland Shriners hospital compared to other medical providers? Why is it important when it comes to medical care to have certified staff like you?

Susy Molano: We are certified by the state of Oregon and are part of the department of patient care management, along with the nurses who manage the care of all the patients, the social workers and the people in charge of helping with the coordination of the travel and transportation for families living out of state. At Shriners Hospital, we not only use the traditional model of interpreting service, but we also help families, not only when they come to see the doctor, but also when they navigate the hospital, and we provide resource information services in coordination with social workers, with people who work in our department.

And this is very important because this model allows patients and their families to communicate freely to ask questions, give opinions, ideas, which makes them better adhere to the care plan and this promotes patient safety, improves results, since communication is effective, timely and culturally appropriate.

In addition, families feel supported, listened to and understood. They feel they always have easy access to the hospital and its services.

Presenter: What can a Latino or Spanish-speaking family whose knowledge or command of English is perhaps limited expect when they arrive at the hospital, or even when they want to call to try to make an appointment?

Susy Molano: We have a dedicated line exclusively for Latino families, in such a way that before the appointment is arranged, we are in communication with the families, we call to confirm the appointments, we know when they arrive, we are waiting here, when they arrive for the first time. We accompany them to the hospital for registration, to see the doctors, to the different places where they are going, what they want to do, either take X-rays, or take photographs, or any orthopedic device they need. And on the other hand, we can say that we are part of the families because we are with them throughout the process, when the children undergo surgeries, when they are in rehabilitation and so on. So we really get to know them very well, and they really feel comfortable and we know that we are here to help them, and they can count on us permanently.

Presenter: Well, we all know that going to the hospital can be an experience that brings about certain fears for many people, but this can be really more frightening, more worrying, when one has to go and does not handle the language that is going to be spoken mostly in that place. How then do you manage to make patients and their families feel comfortable and at ease during their visits?

Susy Molano: We are aware that families arrive stressed and worried to the appointments, not only because the children are sick, but also because they have transportation problems, and a number of things that happen before the appointments. So we are always trying to welcome them, explain to them where things are, take them to the different departments to which they are referred, we set follow-up appointments for them, and in addition to that, we accompany them when needed.

Then, for the second appointment, they are calm, because they know what to expect, they already know the hospital, and know that we appreciate them and we are here to collaborate with them at all times. So a relationship of trust is always generated and they know that they can count on us at any time, and that makes the stress level drop substantially and they feel comfortable in this hospital. Virginia, there is a nice thing and it is that this hospital, the Portland Shriners Hospital for Children is a beautiful hospital, it also has a beautiful view of the city and everything is done in a very comfortable and very friendly way for both families and the patients.

Presenter: Susy, it needs to be understood that your work as an interpreter goes far beyond the cultural barrier and the linguistic barrier, it is a human component, it is the bridge that connects wisdom, the knowledge of that doctor with the patient. It is about understanding how the other thinks, what the other believes, about reading face gestures in the relative or in the patient, who may feel stunned or confused. It is really wonderful that you at the Portland Shriners Hospital have this type of service and that you make feel these Latino families so comfortable and, and in some way, more patient about the future of their treatments and what will happen in their bodies. Such an important job you are developing, Susy. I would like to ask you, How is it, that these services for Latino families with limited English help you make the medical care provided in the hospital more accessible?

Susy Molano: People feel very comfortable here. I really think Portland Shriners Hospital for Children is a blessing to our families, it is a true privilege to work here. The professionals we have are wonderful, they understand our families, they are interested in being culturally appropriate not only in the way they treat families, but also how they approach the treatments, and it is really a system that supports children unconditionally, so that they can be their best version of themselves. I see miracles every day and it is absolutely wonderful to see all the things that can be done and how kids really... they grow up in a completely different way than they would have grown if they had not got the services of the Shriners hospital.

Presenter: Susy, is there anything else you would like to add for those listening to this podcast?

Susy Molano: There are three things I would like to communicate. One is that families do not have to be referred to the hospital by a doctor for services to be provided. Families can call us and say: “look, I have a son who has these conditions”, and we simply take the information, we pass it on to the new patient department and they are the ones who determine whether or not we can treat that condition, that is one thing. The second one is that we take care of all the children who have the conditions that we treat, nobody is told that they cannot come, they are always welcome as long as the children have a condition we can treat. And the third thing I wanted to talk about is that we have here at this Portland Shriners hospital for children a special service that is a fracture and sports injury clinic. No permission is required, sorry, there is no need to have an appointment ahead in time. The person can come with their child from seven thirty in the morning, until four in the afternoon, if you are already sure that you have a fracture or that you have a sports injury. We will take care of them without having to wait for that. It is an advantage especially in times when children are on vacation or have sports activities in schools and so on. It is good to know that they can count on hospital services and that they do not have to make an appointment in advance, but can come without any problem.

Presenter: Susy, thank you very much for allowing us to discover more about this sensitive and important topic for the Latino families who are listening to us. Susy Molano is a certified medical interpreter at Portland Shriners hospital. My name is Virginia García, thank you for listening to us. To find more updated information about the services offered at Shriners hospital for children Portland, please call 503-221-3422 or visit the website at, and if you liked this podcast, please share it on your social media and be sure to check out our entire library to find more topics you are interested in. Thank you, and see you next time.

About The Speakers

Susy Molano, CMI

Susy Molano is a native Spanish speaker from Colombia. She is a certified medical interpreter (CMI) and community health worker in the state of Oregon, currently working as an interpreter at Shriners Children's Portland. Additionally, Susy founded Oregon Health Care Interpreters Association, and currently serves as the executive director. She has worked for Shriners Hospitals for Children - Portland for over 18 years as a medical interpreter, and volunteer outreach ambassador.

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