Quality of life improves with return of voice in tracheostomy patients in intensive care: An observational study☆,☆☆

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Purpose:To measure patient-reported change of mood, communication-related quality of life, and general health status with return of voice among mechanically ventilated tracheostomy patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).Materials and Methods:A prospective observational study in a tertiary ICU was conducted. Communication-related quality of life was measured daily using the Visual Analogue Self-Esteem Scale. General health status was measured weekly using the EuroQol-5D.Results:Aspects of communication self-esteem that significantly improved with the return of voice were ability to be understood by others (P = .006) and cheerfulness (P = .04), both with a median difference from before to after return of voice of 1 on the 5-point scale. Return of voice was not associated with a significant improvement in confidence, sense of outgoingness, anger, sense of being trapped, optimism, or frustration. Reported general health status did not significantly improve.Conclusions:Return of voice was associated with significant improvement in patient reported self-esteem, particularly in being understood by others and in cheerfulness. Improved self-esteem may also improve quality of life; however, further research is needed to confirm this relationship. Early restoration of voice should be investigated as a way to improve the experience of ICU for tracheostomy patients.

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