Sometimes in this role as a mental health practitioner you will be required to conduct home visits. The best procedure to follow when carrying these out is to follow the same guidelines as detailed in ‘Working with an interpreter’. The session content will be very much the same however in a different setting or environment.
Firstly interpreters should be made aware of who will be present at the home address, i.e. will there be family members, other professionals from other agencies (paramedics, police etc.), is there any risk or safeguarding issues, any cultural adherences, and any pets the interpreter needs to know of before attending the appointment.
It is important that you consider some cultural etiquette in this setting as you are going to be visiting somebody’s home. You should treat their home with respect as in many cultures families pride themselves on their homes. You should be aware many cultures will require you to remove your footwear before you enter. You should consider using plastic shoe covers as a sign of respect if you do not wish to remove your footwear.
In some cultures when you visit a home, the resident will often want to provide you with food or drink. You should consider what the impact of accepting this would have upon the outcome of your appointment, whether this can cause familiarity or will affect the way your patient will see you as a professional. You should use your own judgement in whether you think this is acceptable or appropriate in each individual case. It might be that you do not feel comfortable in accepting anything and in which case politely refuse and inform them you are here on a professional level.
You may find a patient is much more relaxed in their home environment resulting in you gaining the best communication results possible. However you should consider who is present whilst conducting your session, just as you would in a clinical environment. As mentioned above, having other parties present may influence the communication received from your patient.