Nonverbal Communication Tool

Did you know that most of the grievances received by the Network stem from poor communication between facility staff and patients?  Dialysis staff have a very difficult job and so first off, we want to thank you for all that you do to serve our ESRD population.  Network 16 is a very diverse geographic area and as a result we have many patients who speak many different languages.  This can often make communicating properly with some folks very difficult.  We encourage you to use a certified translator when discussing treatment related items or when having a lengthy conversation surrounding a patient’s care.  However, we know that a translator cannot be used for every single interaction and we want to help you with that.

The Non-verbal or Non-English speaking Communication Tool at is in English and Spanish, but is designed so that any patient, speaking any language, can understand what each picture represents.  This tool can be used during your pre- and post-assessments with any non-English-speaking or non-verbal patient, and it was designed specifically for dialysis needs.


  • Print double sided and in color.
  • Laminate so the tool can be cleaned as required for proper infection control
  • Consider hanging the tool at each station for easy access and use

We hope you find this tool beneficial in improving your ability to communicate with your patients.

5/23 CDC Emergency Communication Webinar

CDC will present a free May 23, 2017 webinar on Conflict Management in Times of Competing Resources and Priorities.  While this Effective Communication Webinar Series, co-sponsored by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology as part of the joint Outbreak Response Training Program (ORTP), is aimed at training hospital epidemiologists in interpersonal skills, it may be useful to some dialysis providers as well.  Find more information and register at .  For more information on the ORTP, see .

Nat’l SW Month

March is also National Social Work month.  We’ve added web pages to the Network 16 website describing a few skills that social workers bring to patients and facilities.  Among the many things social workers do are:

  • Help manage kidney disease
  • Help assure quality of life
  • Help with rehabilitation
  • Help with education
  • Help assure satisfaction

Find the flyer for facilities in this month’s Network 16 News at and this month’s Patient Bulletin for posting or handout to patients at .

3/3 OPSC Patient Safety Forum

On March 3, 2017 in Portland OR, the Oregon Patient Safety Commission will present their Sixth Annual Oregon Patient Safety Forum, on Walking the Talk: Healing, Learning, and Safer Healthcare through Open Communication.  The Forum will include workshops for learning about and practicing how to deal with the similar emotions and challenges that patients/families and providers experience, how to choose what information to communicate to patients and their family, how to provide emotional support, and the value of transparency in medical communication.  Nursing CE credits will be available.  For details see .

Communication Mini-Course

The Heartland Kidney Network of Kansas City has added the fifth and last colorful poster on essential elements of communication to their excellent short course called Heartland Huddle Up to Improve Communication.  This one is on Respect, joining the earlier pages on Active Listening, Body Language, Emotional Awareness, and Words Matter.  Find them all at .

10/16 Mid-Columbia Nephrology Seminar

The Mid-Columbia Nephrology Seminar in Richland WA will be held October 16, 2016.  Topics include dialysis access, organ stunning, new technologies, empathy, and home dialysis.  Nine hours of CEUs will be available for RNs and PCTs.  See for details.