An interdisciplinary research team funded by INQRI developed and tested SPEACS-2 (Study of Patient-Nurse Effectiveness with Assisted Communication Strategies), a program that includes web-based communications training for nurses, resources to use with patients, and bedside teaching rounds provided by a speech pathologist. The program improves nurses’ knowledge of, comfort with, and satisfaction communicating with mechanically ventilated patients. It also helps patients avoid the frustration and stress of being unable to communicate.
Now the SPEACS-2 communications training program is available online. It consists of tools, resources, and six ten-minute interactive learning modules, which include:
- Introduction to the SPEACS-2 program and assessment to determine how best to use the communications strategies and tools;
- Techniques to help patients better understand questions and instructions, assessing patients’ ability to communicate and establishing communications with patients;
- Techniques to help patients who are cognitively impaired understand and communicate;
- Techniques to better support and understand patients’ “unaided” communications, such as gestures or mouthing words;
- Techniques and materials to assess and support patients’ written communications; and
- Demonstrations of communications strategies to use with patients with impaired movement or attention, and a presentation of the role of a speech language pathologist in assisting with communication.