Successful communication is integral to quality health care and successful nursing practice. Ten people who had been in hospital in the 12 months prior to the study and who had no functional speech at that time were interviewed about their communication experiences with nurses. Overall, these individuals experienced difficulties, some of which appeared to be related to a lack of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) resources and a lack of knowledge of AAC among nurses. In addition, the participants noted that nurses did not always have the time or the skills to communicate effectively with them. The participants suggested strategies to improve communication interactions between patients with no or limited functional speech and nurses. These strategies include pre-admission briefing and training nurses about effective strategies for communicating with patients who are unable to speak, including the use of augmentative and alternative communication systems.
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