Services for Deaf Patients

The following personal and interpretive services are available to patients and health care providers:

  • ASL Interpreter: A full-time American Sign Language/English interpreter is available for patients and visitors to Mass General. In addition, on-call ASL interpreter services are available overnight and weekends
  • CART (Communication Access Real-time Translation) Services: Professional captioners type the clinician’s words into text, which is simultaneously displayed on a computer screen. Deaf patients who do not use American Sign Language and speak for themselves can access CART services
  • Video Remote Interpreting (VRI): A remote interpreting service is available on a laptop as a back-up when a face-to-face ASL interpreter is not available and the deaf patient is agreeable
  • Videophones (VPs): Two public videophones are available for use by deaf patients: one in the White lobby and the other in the Blum Center. VPs are available for deaf patients and visitors to make phone calls
  • Portable Videophones (VPs): Available from Customer Service, to be delivered to in-patient rooms, allowing deaf patients to make phone calls from the bedside
  • TTY Relay: Deaf and people with impaired hearing can call each other through a TTY Relay Operator by dialing 711 from any patient room
  • Public TTY: Available in White lobby
  • Video Relay: Deaf and people with impaired hearing can call each other through a Certified Video Relay Interpreter by calling 866-327-8877
  • Closed Caption Television: Televisions with closed captions are available in patient rooms and public places at the hospital. Closed captioning is controlled by the television remote

For more information and/or to request these services, contact the Interpreter Services Department at 617-726-6966/VP 857-366-4210.

Assistive Technology at the Blum Center

Massachusetts General Hospital's Maxwell & Eleanor Blum Patient and Family Learning Center features an Assistive Technology Center where patients, visitors and staff can access a variety of adaptive devices designed for people with mobility, sight and hearing disabilities.

The Assistive Technology Center is located on the first floor of the White Building, Room 110. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed on weekends and hospital holidays).

wheelchair icon

For patients with mobility impairments:

  • Kensington Turbo Mouse – A mouse with a roller trackball to help with computer navigation
  • Infogrip Roller Plus Joystick – A mouse with two settings, T-bar and soft sponge ball. Switches can be easily connected to copy the mouse buttons
eye icon

For patients with visual impairments:

  • Headphones
  • Large Print Keyboard Labels – A white background with black lettering makes keys easier to see
  • Telesensory Low-vision Aid (Vertex) – A portable device that magnifies printed materials in high-contrast black text on white or white text on black
  • JAWS – Screen reader software that can be used with many software applications and the Internet. Information from the screen is read aloud, providing technology to access a wide variety of information, education and job-related applications. JAWS voice recognition software requires repeated usage to ensure accuracy so that it may best meet the needs of long-term patients
  • ZoomText – Software that magnifies the material on the computer screen in a choice of sizes, making all applications easy to see and use
ear icon

For deaf patients:

  • Closed caption patient education videos – Patient education videos are available in closed caption on a variety of topics such as cardiac conditions, diabetes and health promotion. A listing of these videos and instructions can also be viewed in patients’ rooms on the Mass General Patient Education Television on Channel 31
  • Sorenson Video Relay Service - Deaf and people with impaired hearing can call each other through a Certified Video Relay Interpreter by calling 866-327-8877. Available in the White lobby