Search
Close this search box.
Search

App helps ventilated patients communicate with staff, visitors

Is there an app for everything? One would almost start to think so. Now there is even an app that allows patients who are is intubated and on a ventilator, to communicate with hospital staff and visitors in an easy way.

The Speak for Myself app was thought out by Rebecca Koszalinski, R.N., Ph.D. The app is used on a tablet and offers an easily controlled pain scale, as well as a way to show where something hurts thanks to a graphic displaying a human body. There are also options to request to be repositioned, to ask for suctioning, and notify when one needs to empty one’s bowels.

Koszalinski developed the at the College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University, during her doctoral studies under the guidance of Ruth Tappen, Ed.D., R.N., F.A.A.N.,  the Christine E. Lynn eminent scholar and professor in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University.

There are almost 800,000 patients in the United States alone who are intubated and require mechanical ventilation annually. More than half of these patients are awake, alert and desperately attempting to communicate with nurses, physicians and their loved ones. Current methods that exist today to assist patients with their communication needs are either antiquated, time consuming or just cumbersome.

Care improvement

Results of a pilot study of Speak for Myself, conducted at three hospitals in South Florida, where recently published in the journal Computers, Informatics, Nursing, and demonstrates the importance of the computer app as well as the disconnect between what health care providers think patients want to communicate and what patients actually want to communicate.  Researchers tested the application on patients aged 45 to 91 within cardiovascular, neurological, and surgical intensive care units. They showed that the app indeed does help patients communicate and even lead to improvement in care.

Speak for Myself enables a patient to communicate his or her level of pain using an analog pain scale. It also helps them convey feelings of fear and loneliness as well as their physical needs such as suctioning, repositioning needs and requests for toileting.

The app has a graphic for indicating the location of their pain and the level of pain they are experiencing. When a patient touches the screen to indicate the location of pain on the body graphic, the voice says “it hurts here.” Patients can use shortcuts and single words or type in phrases or full sentences to communicate their needs. The software is predictive so that if a patient begins to enter a word, the program will anticipate and present likely solutions.

Misinterpretation and misunderstanding

“The purpose of Speak for Myself is to provide an easy-to-use, patient-centric, and hospital experience-specific program that can assist patients in expressing their needs,” said Koszalinski, now an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. “Patients want to be heard, to retain control, and to contribute to decisions about their care, even if it is without a voice. Technology at the bedside can play a significant role in making this a reality.”

“When patients are not able to clearly verbalize their needs, there is an elevated risk of misinterpretation and misunderstanding, which could lead to errors and unintentional poorer quality of care,” adds Tappen. “While writing boards and other traditional methods may be helpful, important information is often lost. Furthermore, allowing others to speak for the patient has its limitations.”

Study shows effectiveness

Results from the study revealed to Tappen and Koszalinski just how effective Speak for Myself was for both patients and health care providers in the ICUs. In one example, a patient who had reported unresolved pain in the back of his throat was finally able to get assessed properly. Health care providers learned that it was the nasogastric tube that had become twisted and was causing his pain. They corrected the placement of the tube and resolved the issue.

Perhaps the most dramatic example for clear communication was demonstrated when a patient asked the nurses to help document her end-of-life decisions and wishes. The patient decided not to prolong treatment but to disconnect the mechanical ventilation that was keeping her alive.

Whixx

ICT&health World Conference 2024

Experience the future of healthcare at the ICT&health World Conference from May 14th to 16th, 2024!
Secure your ticket now and immerse yourself in groundbreaking technologies and innovative solutions.
Engage with fellow experts and explore the power of global collaborations.

Share this article!

Read also
Navigating Digital Maturity in Healthcare IT
Digital maturity vs. Reality. How to rethink the IT staff role in a hospital
Online health care icon application on smart phone
End-users of mobile health apps expect far more than a good design
Mayo Clinic started with its innovations for its ten million patients and demonstrated that its model worked, and that data could be ethically and responsibly used to drive innovations.
John Halamka: 'Create the Fear of Missing Out'
Balancing regulatory compliance with seamless adoption, healthcare navigates the integration of AI solutions.
A guide to implementing AI in healthcare amid the EU AI Act
AmyWebb-Stephen-Olker
Futurist Amy Webb claims that wearables will evolve into "connectables"
Digital health solutions empower patients to better manage their health and integrate care into their daily lives.
How to improve Digital Patient Engagement to streamline workflows
For people with diabetes, inaccurate blood glucose measurements can lead to errors in diabetes management, including taking the wrong dose of insulin, sulfonylureas, or other medications that can rapidly lower blood glucose.
Smartwatches measuring glucose level: Harmful but easy to buy fake innovations
How to introduce innovation and AI in healthcare organizations if there is no business model for prevention and quality – Our interview with Professor Ran Balicer, the Chief Innovation Officer at Clalit Health Services and founding Director of Clalit Research Institute.
I see no legitimate rationale for delaying the digital transformation in healthcare
Pioneering Cardiac Arrest Detection for Enhanced Survival.
CardioWatch Revolutionizes Cardiac Arrest Detection
Dr. Oscar Díaz-Cambronero, Head of Perioperative Medicine Department at La Fe Hospital, spearheads innovative telemonitoring initiatives revolutionizing patient care
Smartwatches Saving Lives Inside and Outside the Hospital
Follow us