November 18, 2017 |
Improving Communication with Mechanically Ventilated Patients
January 28, 2014  | 
Princeton, NJ - Each year, more than 800,000 critically ill patients are unable to speak because they are ventilated or using artificial airways. That inability to communicate can lead to anxiety, frustration, and potentially panic, putting those patients at greater risk for preventable adverse events.

A research team funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) developed and tested a program including web-based communications training for nurses, resources to use with patients and bedside teaching rounds provided by a speech pathologist called SPEACS-2 (Study of Patient-Nurse Effectiveness with Assisted Communication Strategies). The program improves nurses’ knowledge of, comfort with and satisfaction communicating with mechanically ventilated patients.

Now the SPEACS-2 communications training program is available online at http://go.osu.edu/speacs. It consists of tools, resources, and six ten-minute interactive learning modules, which include:
  • Introduction to the SPEACS-2 program and assessment to determine how best to use the communications strategies and tools.
  • Techniques to help patients better understand questions and instructions, assessing patients’ ability to communicate and establishing communications with patients.
  • Techniques to help patients who are cognitively impaired understand and communicate.
  • Techniques to better support and understand patients’ “unaided” communications, such as gestures or mouthing words. 
  • Techniques and materials to assess and support patients’ written communications.
  • Demonstrations of communications strategies to use with patients with impaired movement or attention, and a presentation of the role of a speech language pathologist in assisting with communication. 
Nurses and other health care providers can download and print communications tools and resources from the SPEACS-2 Communication Training Program website that are intended for use in implementing the program. They include a communication and assessment planning algorithm, which also comes in pocket-size; picture and letter boards to use with patients; topic and message lists for patients; lists of common gestures; and much more.

Nurses can earn one continuing education credit for completing the program.
 
For more information, visit: http://go.osu.edu/speacs
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