Evaluation of Speak for Myself with Patients Who Are Voiceless

Rehabil Nurs. Jul-Aug 2015;40(4):235-42. doi: 10.1002/rnj.186. Epub 2014 Nov 25.


Purpose: To describe the creation and initial feasibility study of a new computer application to improve communication with people who cannot communicate by customary means during their hospitalization.

Design: This was a mixed-methods, quasi-experimental design.

Methods: This exploratory feasibility study obtained data about the experiences of 20 intensive care patients in three South Florida hospitals who were unable to speak due to mechanical obstruction.

Findings: Study participants (20), who ranged in age from 45 to 91 years (M=67.4, SD=12.88) and between -1 to +1 (SD=-0.15) on the Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale, used Speak for Myself from 4 to 16 hours with a mean of 8.86 (SD=2.12). Ninety-five percent of the participants stated that Speak for Myself was helpful for communication.

Conclusions: Speak for Myself was helpful to patients who used it. This was a small study (n=20). It warrants further investigation.

Clinical relevance: Patients who are unable to communicate their needs through conventional methods still want to make their preferences and needs known. Speak for Myself is a new application that facilitates ensuring the patient's voice is heard.

Keywords: Communication; Speak for Myself; patient autonomy; patient voice.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aphonia / nursing*
  • Aphonia / rehabilitation*
  • Communication Aids for Disabled*
  • Critical Care Nursing / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nonverbal Communication*
  • Patient Participation
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Rehabilitation Nursing / methods*
  • Software*