Augusta Free Press

Augusta Health, Virginia Organizing to hold info session on deaf services

Virginia Organizing and Augusta Health will hold an information session about the services that Augusta Health uses to assist patients who are deaf and hard of hearing.

“This info session is the culmination of our years of behind-the-scenes work to overhaul and vastly improve communication access for deaf and hard of hearing patients and families at Augusta Health. The most basic human desire is to connect and be understood, and nowhere is this more vital than in a hospital, where clear communication can mean the difference between life and death,” said Ronna Wertman, a Virginia Organizing leader, whose family will greatly benefit from the communication access improvements at Augusta Health.

Members of the Staunton-Augusta County-Waynesboro chapter of Virginia Organizing participated in several focus groups with administrators at Augusta Health to share their stories and express their concerns. Augusta Health listened and now major changes and improvements are taking place at the hospital.

The changes include:

“I am proud Virginia Organizing supports me, my family, and the community in helping realize our goal of being partners and full, equal participants in healthcare. No longer will we spend hours without interpreting services and staff be unaware of available resources. Having consistent, reliable communication access and training for hospital staff to provide these services gives equal respect for the language, culture, and intelligence of people in our deaf community and to all employees, from the front desk to the top administration,” said Rita Wertman, a deaf patient at Augusta Health and member of Virginia Organizing.