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Communication experience of individuals treated with home mechanical ventilation

Journal article
Authors Katja Laakso
Agneta Markström
Markus Idvall
Christina Havstam
Lena Hartelius
Published in International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders
Volume 46
Issue 6
Pages 686–699
ISSN 1368-2822
Publication year 2011
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 686–699
Language en
Keywords home mechanical ventilation (HMV), qualitative content analysis, communication
Subject categories Surgery, Logopedics and phoniatrics

Abstract

Background: Mechanical ventilatory support seriously affects speaking and communication, and earlier studies show that many ventilator-supported patients experience difficulties and frustration with their speech and voice production. Since there is a growing number of individuals who require mechanical ventilatory support and there is a paucity of studies that examine ventilator-supported communication, this research area needs to be developed to ensure adequate health services for this population. The present study focused on ventilator-supported communication from the point of view of individuals receiving home mechanical ventilation (HMV).

Aims: The specific aim was to examine the communication experience of individuals receiving HMV.

Methods & Procedures: A qualitative approach was adopted for this study, and data were collected by means of semi-structured interviews. Qualitative content analysis was used to structure, condense and interpret the data. The participants were recruited from the National Respiratory Centre (NRC) in Sweden, and included 19 individuals receiving HMV.

Outcomes & Results: The main theme A long and lonely struggle to find a voice and six subthemes detailing different facets of it emerged fromdata analysis:Managing changed speech conditions, Prioritising voice, A third party supporting communication, Using communication to get things done, Depending on technology, and Facing ignorance. Important aspects influencing the ventilator-supported individuals’ communicative performance (speech, support from others and technological solutions) are discussed.

Conclusions & Implications: The study revealed that healthcare practitioners involved in the care of individuals receiving HMV need to improve their understanding and knowledge of issues related to ventilator-supported communication. Individuals receiving HMV encounter a needlessly long and lonely struggle to achieve effective communication. They face numerous challenges regarding their communication, and they need to be heard in both literal and figurative senses. To overcome these challenges they need support from competent healthcare practitioners and personal assistants, and continuous follow-up by speech and language therapists tailoring communicative solutions to fit individual needs.

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