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sudden speechlessness, communication, nurses’ experiences

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Background: Currently, patients who develop sudden inability to verbalize needs (sudden speechlessness), rely on ineffective non-verbal strategies to communicate. Nurses caring for suddenly speechless (SS) patients report personal inadequacy, frustration, and time-management challenges as they attempt to decipher patients’ non-verbal communication. Technology-enhanced communication may be of assistance to address challenges experienced by patients and nurses.

Objective: Specific aims: (1) to understand nurses’ perceptions about the effectiveness of a TEC device in facilitating communication with SS patients, and (2) to utilize nurses’ feedback to improve and identify new uses for the TEC device.

Methods: Qualitative study design with focus groups and thematic analysis. Critical care nurses with ≥3 months’ experience caring for SS patients, and who had cared for at least one patient using the TEC device participated in the study. Digital audio recordings were obtained from focus groups.

Results: Salient themes: TEC device use with patients with various levels of functioning, effects of using the device on patient/nurse frustration, noticing whether using the device saved time, and using the device for assessment.

Conclusions: Focus groups captured nurses’ perspectives about the effectiveness of the TEC device in facilitating communication with SS patients. Future research should focus on the impact of TEC on safe and quality care of SS patients.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Media & Communication Studies, v. 4, art. 1552734