Evaluating the Usability and Acceptability of Communication Tools Among Older Adults

J Gerontol Nurs. 2018 Sep 1;44(9):30-39. doi: 10.3928/00989134-20180808-07.


Acutely ill patients may have trouble communicating their symptoms and needs verbally. The current study evaluated the usability and acceptability of six commercially available communication tools with older adults in a non-clinical, controlled setting. Participants evaluated various communication boards and communication applications (apps) by using the tools to communicate needs and symptoms in various scenarios. Participants completed a modified technology acceptance questionnaire and selected the tool they perceived as most useful and easy to use. Bivariate analysis was used to compare communication boards and apps. Performance on most tasks was significantly better using communication boards compared to communication apps. However, participants reported that given more time and training, the apps could be used effectively. A feasibility study is needed to determine whether acutely ill older adults can use these communication tools to successfully convey their symptoms and needs in a hospital setting [Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 44(9), 30-39.].

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hearing Aids / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobile Applications / statistics & numerical data*
  • Nonverbal Communication*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires