Patient's experiences of communication during the respirator treatment period

Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 1996 Oct;12(5):261-71. doi: 10.1016/s0964-3397(96)80693-8.


This paper reports a study of the patients' experiences of communication during the respirator treatment period (RT period) in the intensive care unit (ICU). This descriptive and exploratory study was designed to answer the question. How do respirator treated patients experience communication? Eight individuals who had experienced being treated with a respirator in two ICUs in Iceland, took part in audiotape-recorded, open interviews. They described their subjective experiences of communication during the RT period. The descriptions were analysed phenomenologically, using Colaizzi's method, described by Hycner (1985). The results revealed 57 themes within four categories, namely 'the patients' experiences of communication during the RT period', 'problems of communication experienced', 'additional problems of communication experienced' and 'nursing interventions experienced'. In this paper the themes within the categories of the patients' experiences of communication and problems of communication will be reported. The participants remembered their experience of communication clearly. The patients' experiences of communication were generally described as negative; they experienced communication as impaired, which evoked various negative emotions, and sometimes they had the feeling of giving up. Participants generally described being tired or exhausted during the intubation period. They emphasised the importance of the information and explanation provided by the nurses. The presence and support provided by family members was also valuable to them. The results add to the cumulative knowledge base of communication between nurses and patients by generating new meanings of the nature and essences of communication during the RT period from the patients' perspectives. In this article, the findings of the study are described and discussed in relation to earlier published research and clinical literature on the subject.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication Barriers*
  • Critical Care* / psychology
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Respiration, Artificial / adverse effects
  • Respiration, Artificial / nursing*
  • Respiration, Artificial / psychology*