The purpose of this study was to assess through retrospective patient interviews the effectiveness of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) interventions in acute care medical settings. Five adults with temporary severe expressive communication disabilities in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) due to Guillain-Barre syndrome or botulism were interviewed. Each adult used AAC techniques during the acute phase of their illness when oral speech was not functional. Interviews centered around: the AAC techniques that were introduced in the ICU; reactions of communication partners to AAC approaches; fears and frustrations with speechlessness and AAC approaches; successes and failures of augmented communication; and suggestions for future AAC intervention. Satisfaction with aided expression was reported for about 85% of the interventions. These adults suggested that multiple, simultaneous techniques are most useful. They requested inservice training of all ICU staff with AAC techniques. They considered family training and acceptance of communication alternatives as crucial to success. Nonelectronic approaches were preferred over electronic approaches. Continual patience was one of the most important intervention requirements for the temporary user.
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome
- acquired disorder
- temporary nonspeaking condition
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Speech and Hearing