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Breaking down language barriers

When Byeoung Dutt has questions for her care recipient’s doctor, she first turns to Google Translate to help her write down her thoughts in Korean, then English. 

“If there is an abnormal condition in his blood sugar, blood pressure or overall health, I report his condition by emailing or calling doctors and nurses,” says Dutt. If her report is too complicated or if her question involves more technical terms, she asks for an interpreter to help her translate the conversation. But there is a difference now in how she communicates with the care team. Thanks to CCA’s training offered in her native language, “I have gained confidence in my job.”

Byeoung Dutt

Dutt recently completed CCA’s 10-week training for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers in Los Angeles County. The course covers essential caregiving skills, including medication adherence, assisting with daily activities such as dressing and bathing, proper nutrition, and CPR. It is taught in several languages: English, Spanish, Armenian, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Korean.

More than a million of direct care workers, or roughly one in four, in the nation are immigrants. In California, almost a quarter of the home care workforce is Asian/Pacific Islander.

“Getting training in my native language allowed me not only to understand 100% of all this training, but also to see the connection between what I learned last week and what I will learn this week” Dutt says.

She cites the modules on safety and on durable medical equipment (DME) as an example. “I understood the connection that the medical equipment is necessary to prevent the consumer from falling. I made a connection to the learning before and after, so I understood more quickly and easily.”

Because of what she learned during her IHSS+ training, she keeps a daily record of her care recipient’s vitals, medications, and general observations about his health and any unusual behaviors so she can communicate any changes and concerns with his care team.

Training helps change the perception of what caregivers do, she says. “This kind of training is indispensable for a caregiver to be treated as someone responsible for the health and safety of another person, not just a housekeeper.”

Her diligence and professionalism have not gone unnoticed. The pharmacists, primary doctors, and medical staff she talks to have told her that the person she is caring for “is very lucky.”

“Because I am taking care of him in a better way for his health and his quality of life based on that training, I am filled with pride,” she says.

The Center for Caregiver Advancement’s IHSS+ Home Care Integration training program is offered in partnership with L.A. Care and SEIU Local 2015.

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