Patient Communication & Standard of Care

Standards of Patient Communication Are Changing

Effective patient communication is a cornerstone of quality healthcare, constituting a vital piece of the Standard of Care. This communication goes beyond the simple exchange of information; it plays a pivotal role in fostering trust, understanding, and patient engagement. However, the challenges faced by non-verbal patients highlight the importance of standardizing communication strategies to ensure inclusivity and active participation in their own care. Today, clinical staff use a variety of techniques ranging from 20 yes/no questions, to visual communication boards, to just writing with a pen and paper. As effective as these techniques can be, they vary from department to department and person to person and don't create a standard process to allow the patient quick and effective outgoing messages for their clinical team.

Uncovering Communication Gap with Non-verbal Patients

Non-verbal patients, whether due to medical conditions, cognitive impairments, or other reasons, encounter unique hurdles in expressing their needs and preferences. Healthcare providers must recognize and address these challenges with empathy because part of what makes everyone feel human is the ability to speak and communicate your needs to others.

One significant challenge non-verbal patients face is struggling to convey pain, discomfort, needs and feelings. To overcome this barrier, healthcare professionals should employ what speech pathologists refer to as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) tools. One such tool is the Arthur App, which is a simple iOS based application that becomes the spoken voice for this patient population and allows them to quickly communicate exactly what they want using a set of buttons loaded with the most common phrases used in the hospital.

Moreover, involving non-verbal patients in decision-making processes can be intricate. Tasks like obtaining informed consent, getting medical history, information about current medications, asking questions about treatment plan, may require the use of more than just the traditional pen and paper method and require the ability that the Arthur App can give these patients.

Innovating Patient-Centered Care

Another aspect to consider is the emotional well-being of non-verbal patients. Limited verbal expression can lead to increased frustration, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. By providing tools like the Arthur App, healthcare professionals are able to create a supportive environment where these patients feel empowered to communicate non-verbally. Thus improving their emotional state, which improves ability to care for these patients and improve the ability to heal and recover.

The continuous advancement of technology we are in today has opened up new possibilities for improving communication with non-verbal patients. Innovative tools, such as the Arthur App is just one of several new technologies that can serve as invaluable aids in bridging the communication gap. Leveraging these technologies is going to become part of the new Standard of Care for the future of healthcare that focuses on sympathetic, patient-centered care.