SPEACS-2: Intensive Care Unit “Communication Rounds” with Speech Language Pathology

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Intensive care unit (ICU) nurses occupy an essential role in facilitating patient communication and preventing the detrimental effects experienced by critically ill patients who are unable to speak, yet most are not equipped with the tools or training to enable communication most effectively with patients who are unable to speak. The goal of the Study of Patient-Nurse Effectiveness with Assisted Communication Strategies (SPEACS-2) is to explore the impact of an innovative, Web-based instructional package for ICU nurses with pocket reference guides, an instructional manual, and the provision of “low-tech” augmentative and alternative communication materials on nursing care quality and patient clinical outcomes. We hypothesize that this intervention will 1) improve nurses' skills in assessing and communicating with ICU patients who are unable to speak and 2) increase the collaboration between nursing and speech-language pathology in addressing complex patient communication needs in the ICU.

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