TOKYO – A 26-year-old Filipino licensed care worker has stressed the need for language interpreters with a good grasp and understanding of Japan’s healthcare system.
Mon Angelo Paladero said that foreign residents generally have a limited understanding of Japan’s medical services and would greatly benefit form the assistance of interpreters familiar with the inner workings of the health system.
“Foreign residents who speak little Japanese need special medical and welfare interpreters who are familiar with Japan’s medical system, not to mention health conditions,” Paladero said.
Paladero, who works at a nursing home for elderly people in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, has been in Japan for four years now.
He cited an incident that took place last year; during which he, while on a visit to a doctor, met a Filipino mother who had brought her child for a check-up. The woman was having difficulty communicating with and understanding the doctor’s explanations.
Paladero assisted the mother, acting as interpreter between her and the doctor. He discovered that the mother was being billed for the entire medical expense, and not the usual 30 percent, due to the fact that her health card had expired.
He noted that because of his knowledge of the system, he was able to help the mother understand what was going on, but that she – like many other foreigners – would have otherwise had a difficult time.
As such, Paladero has begun to teach interpreters of various languages about the intricacies of the Japanese medical system, so as to help foster better communication between patient and doctor as to the health care structure.
Earlier this year, Paladero joined and won a contest in Japan for his piece on the topic on interpreters for the health care system. The contest held in August 2014 was organized by the Overseas Human Resources and Industry Development Association.