Table of Contents

HK J Paediatr (New Series)
Vol 22. No. 1, 2017

HK J Paediatr (New Series) 2017;22:26-33

Original Article

Insights on Sensitive Language Use in the Hong Kong Healthcare Setting: Perceptions of Parents and Caregivers of Patients Affected with Down Syndrome

YWY Chu, SPW Chu, WKY Mok, TY Tan, BHY Chung


Appropriate use of language in healthcare settings is an increasingly studied area. However, most of the current literature is English based. This study aims to explore the characteristics of sensitive language used in the healthcare setting in Hong Kong. Through the Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association, 116 participants were recruited, consisting of parents and caregivers of patients with Down syndrome (DS). These participants were asked to rate 43 items of words in Cantonese as "offensive"/"not offensive", and were invited to give additional words that they have heard in healthcare setting which they considered to be offensive. We found that the use of "abnormal" (唔正常), the assumptions on abilities and behaviours of individual with DS and the use of allusions to blame parents are the characteristics of sensitive language. This study result provides insight for health professionals to be aware of their word choices in order to reduce the stigmatisation to parents and caregivers.

Keyword : Cantonese; Down syndrome; Language

Abstract in Chinese


This web site is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson (HK) Ltd.
©2022 Hong Kong Journal of Paediatrics. All rights reserved. Developed and maintained by Medcom Ltd.