Being unwell in hospital can be a stressful experience, especially for patients struggling to communicate due to limited English. Interpreting services are available; however there was an opportunity to complement this with an easy-to-use tool to support patient care, safety, and quality of experience around the clock.
“Communication is a huge problem .... We can organise a translator for a few hours in a single day. But what will happen during the other hours (frustration and lack of communication)?”
—Staff suggestion, 2014.
To keep the resource low cost we trialled universal icons that would not need translations, and limited the size to A4. Prototypes were trialled on several wards.
The design and information hierarchy followed nurses current processes based on supporting patient needs. This approach prioritised immediate needs.
We found creating universally understood icons without words was more difficult than expected. The result validated the need for funding for translations. The cards have been implemented in 12 languages and are being widely used.
Design team: Eden Short & Lauren Stewart