Requesting Interpreter Services

When you are registering or calling for an appointment, please make sure Lahey Hospital & Medical Center staff are aware of your need for an interpreter and have record of your primary language. They will then coordinate efforts to ensure that a competent medical interpreter, fluent in English and your primary language, will be present for your appointment(s).

All requests for competent medical language interpreters are communicated by Lahey Hospital & Medical Center staff to the Coordinator of Interpreter Services at 781-744-5404 (who is fluent in English/Spanish). Generally, requests for outpatient appointments require 72 hours notice but may be expedited based on interpreter availability.

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center strongly discourages the use of family members or friends as interpreters. Patients, however, may decline the use of free-of-charge interpreter services and choose to use family members or friends. If this occurs, the provider will document that the interpreter services were declined.

Please note that federal law prohibits the use of minor children as interpreters.

Emergency Services

In accordance with Massachusetts state law, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center provides competent interpreter services to any patients seeking emergency or mental health services.

In cases where there was no reasonable way to anticipate the need for an interpreter for a particular language, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center has access to Language Line Services that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Lahey Uses "Competent" Interpreters

The Coordinator of Interpreter Services, in accordance with the philosophy of Lahey Hospital & Medical Center and in compliance with state and federal law, utilizes the services of "competent" medical language interpreters.

A "competent" interpreter is a person who is fluent in English and in the language of the non-English speaker. He or she is also trained and proficient in the skill and ethics of interpreting and is knowledgeable of the specialized medical terms and concepts that need to be interpreted for the purposes of receiving care or treatment.

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Patients

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center utilizes a variety of resources, including the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hearing-Impaired, to provide services for deaf and hard-of-hearing patients. Generally, requests for appointments require two to three weeks advance notification for service coordination. However, these may be expedited based on interpreter availability.

In addition, the Lahey Hospital & Medical Center Department of Audiology has auxiliary aids available for use by patients who are hard-of-hearing, including:

  • Assistive listening systems
  • One-to-one assistive systems
  • TV Decoders
  • TTD/TTY for telephones
  • Telephone amplifiers
  • Visual signalers

The Department of Audiology may be contacted at 781-744-2528. 

Speech Impaired Patients

The Department of Speech Pathology at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center has augmentive communication devices available for patients who are unable to communicate verbally due to various conditions (for example, laryngectomy, tracheostomy, or stroke).

As these devices are the property of Speech Pathology, they cannot leave the hospital. If the patient continues to require a communication device upon discharge, arrangements will be made with the patient and family to purchase a device from the distributor.

The Department of Speech Pathology may be contacted at 781-744-8452.