Juntos: A Model for Language Congruent Care to Better Serve Spanish-Speaking Patients with COVID-19

Santiago Alvarez-Arango, Tina Tolson, Amy M. Knight, Sophie K. Presny, Dulce M. Cruz-Oliver, Sabrina Aloe, Jessica Contreras, Nicole Dzamko, Adrianna Moore, Inez Stewart, Sherita H. Golden, Kathleen R. Page

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) exacerbated pre-existing health disparities and disproportionately affected the Latino community. Clinicians identified communication barriers as a major challenge in care for COVID-19 Latino patients with limited English proficiency (LEP). To address these challenges, Juntos (Together) consult service was established to promote language-congruent care with cultural sensitivity, identify barriers to safe discharge, and facilitate referral to appropriate resources. Spanish speaking volunteer health care providers worked synergistically with medical teams caring for LEP Latino patients. Volunteers were trained on consultant responsibilities and discharge planning resources. The program was evaluated by a satisfaction survey distributed to providers who requested a Juntos consult and Juntos volunteers. Between May 5 and July 30, 2020, 19 individuals volunteered time to the Juntos consult service, 12 (63%) Latinos, 14 (74%) physicians, and 5 (26%) staff. The service supported 127 patients, 76 (60%) males, mean age 42 (±16), 83 (65%) uninsured, and 91 (72%) without primary care. The most common referral sources were medical units (52, 41%) and intensive care units (47, 37%). The most common services offered were family engagement (55, 43%), goals of care (35, 28%), and mental status assessment (26, 20%). The majority of providers who consulted Juntos were very satisfied (48/59, 81%) with the care delivered. The Juntos service offered critical support tailored to the patients' and primary teams' needs. The experience reinforced the need for cultural-based communication to provide optimal care to LEP patients. The Juntos consult service could be a model for providing language-congruent care even beyond COVID-19, but to do so will require institutional investment and rigorous outcomes evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)826-833
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Equity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Latino community
  • cultural-based communication
  • limited English proficiency
  • minority tax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Information Management


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