New French language options now available for patients and families

News / General
By Peter Jeffrey

As you scroll around our hospital website, you may notice a new feature in the top right hand corner of certain pages. Some of the site’s more popular sections are now available in French. This includes the Patients, Families and Visitors section as well as the Emergency Services, Critical Care, Mental Health and Obstetrical Care sections.

The translation and related website development was possible thanks to special funding from the South East Local Health Integration Network (SE LHIN). It also allowed us to translate the handout Patient and Family Guide into French.

“This work is part of our ongoing plan to offer more bilingual services and resources to our patients and families,” says Theresa MacBeth, Director of Strategy Management and Communications. “Over time, we will aim to translate more of the website into French so it’s a consistent experience for users.” 

Under provincial legislation, Kingston is one of 26 areas designated as an official French language area due to our city’s demographics. As a hospital, both the KGH and Hotel Dieu Hospital sites have been planning and reporting on the French language services we have available for the past several years.

Highlights of our progress at the KGH site so far include the bilingual signs inside and outside all of our buildings, a handy translation service for patients and staff to access 24/7, and testing of some staff for French language proficiency. In the future, more of this testing will likely be planned along with work to identify which jobs and areas of our hospital sites could benefit the most from having bilingual speakers in place.

Overall, the long-term aim of our designation plan is to get to the point where Francophone patients can count on receiving an “active offer” in French from our Kingston Health Sciences Centre, meaning French services are available at all times and are easy to access. 

“Becoming a fully functioning French language site will take some time but we are following a detailed plan that will help us get there,” says MacBeth. “Work will also begin to harmonize all of the KGH site’s French language policies and plans with those at the HDH site to ensure we are moving ahead to serve patients and families in an efficient and coordinated fashion.”