Why Are You Trying To Talk?

Why are  patients who are intubated or have a tracheostomy tube adamant about TALKING to you? No matter how many different ways you try to explain to them that you cannot understand them, they repeatedly ‘mouth’ words to you.

The intubated ones usually are one step away from being extubated by this time because the sedation is obviously off and they are alert and moving. So to some extent I can understand.

The trached patients I still wonder about. I think, that they think I can hear them in some way?? In fact whenever they are being down-sized they start to talk more forcefully to let air escape around the balloon so that they get some remnants of a voice with they’re squeaking. LOL

It’s all very frustrating since you want to communicate effectively with your patient, and you both ultimately have your ‘hands tied’. I usually try to remind them to keep things simple. Stick to YES and NO answers. And the communication billboard that most hospitals have, is usually about 60% effective. Once again due to their illness and the resulting foggy mental acuity.

THEN.. to boot. You break out the clipboard and have them attempt to write what they are trying to say. BIG MISTAKE THERE.

*Shaking Head*

Due to there obvious condition they do not realize they are scribbling hieroglyphics. I’ve seen pre-schoolers write better than some of my patients. But who can blame them. It’s difficult to write on a clipboard that they more than likely cannot even see, nor can they decipher what they themselves are trying to convey.

Yet another obstacle we nurses have to endure.

How do you communicate with the intubated & trached patient?

Carpe Diem


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