Limited English Proficiency in Older Adults Referred to the Cardiovascular Team

Published:February 21, 2023DOI:


      Limited English proficiency (LEP) is defined as individuals in whom English is not the primary language and who have limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand the English language. Cardiovascular (CV) team members routinely encounter language barriers in their practice. These barriers have a significant impact on the quality of CV care that patients with LEP receive. Despite evidence demonstrating the negative association between language barriers and health disparities, the impact on CV care is insufficiently known. In addition, older adults with CV disease and LEP are facing increasing risk of adverse events when complex medical information is not optimally delivered. Overcoming language barriers in CV care will need a thoughtful approach. Although well recognized, the initial step will be to continue to highlight the importance of language needs identification and appropriate use of professional interpreter services. In parallel, a health system-level approach is essential that describes initiatives and key policies to ensure a high-level quality of care for a growing LEP population. This review aims to present the topic of LEP during the CV care of older adults, for continued awareness along with practical considerations for clinical use and directions for future research.


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