Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson


Communication Barriers


Physical therapists provide health care services to a diverse range of patient populations. Members of these populations may differ in language or culture from the therapists who treat them. If a language barrier is present, vital communication is lost, and there is interference with the implementation of effective physical therapy.

Options in overcoming language barriers include a language assistance department, a bilingual staff directory, a telephone interpreter service, and an outside interpreter. Limitations of these options exist that can lead to ineffective treatment.

This project makes one further option available. This option is translated written material and audiotapes. This project is an extension of written orthopedic physical therapy evaluations (formulated by Nadine K. M. Takai and Cheryl Walker) that are provided in the Appendix. Home programs were developed and translated into Spanish. Audiotapes of these programs were recorded in the same language.

The purpose of this project is to bypass the limitations of other options while reaping the benefits of translation in providing effective health care outcomes. Hopefully, this project will make therapists aware of the importance of communication, provide non English speaking patients a prominent voice in their care, and facilitate effective health care outcomes.