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Ward Communication Tool

Queensland Health Ward Communication Tool

Using the Queensland Health Ward Communication Tool

The Ward Communication Tool was developed by Queensland Health to assist staff to communicate with people who do not speak English well, or at all, about simple day-to-day issues. It may also assist staff to initiate communication.

The tool contains words commonly used in hospital wards, together with a translation of the word, a picture and a phonetic (sounds like) spelling of the word.

The Ward Communication Tool should not to be used in lieu of professional interpreters. However, it can be used  to communicate simple needs. For more complex communication, staff should engage a professional interpreter.

How the Ward Communication Tool can be used:

  1. Select the relevant language
  2. Point to the relevant word and picture
  3. Say the word by using the phonetic 'sounds like' (written in black text)


  1. Place the appropriate page in front of the person
  2. The person can point to the word and picture

Languages available

The tool is available in the following 30 languages*, including Auslan:
*some languages must be downloaded separately from the main tool.

 Download the Ward Communication Tool 
1. Arabic 13. Italian New additions
2. Chinese (Mandarin) 14. Japanese Auslan 
3. Croatian 15. Khmer Burmese 
4. Dinka 16. Korean Hmong 
5. Dutch 17. Malay Kirundi 
6. Filipino 18. Polish Lao 
7. French 19. Russian Thai 
8. German 20. Samoan  
9. Greek 21. Serbian  
10. Hindi 22. Spanish  
11. Hungarian 23. Turkish 
12. Indonesian 24. Vietnamese 

Other communication tools

Cue Cards is a resource developed in Melbourne. It contains many words and languages not covered by the Ward Communication Tool. It is available without charge.

Last updated: 23 August 2012

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Complaints about health or other services

Do you have concerns about a government or non-government health service or are you unhappy with the way an issue has been handled? Do you think you have been treated unfairly or are you concerned about a decision or action of a health professional?

It is ok to complain, and there are organisations that are independent of the government that can help you, free of charge.

Go to the Queensland Independent Complaint Agencies' website for more information.