The Power of Communication

  • Jackie McRaeEmail author
  • Aeron Ginnelly
  • Helen Newman
  • Gemma Clunie
  • Mari Viviers


Whilst the goal of intensive care is to maintain life and ideally restore a person’s health through complex management of multiple bodily systems, an unintended consequence of these interventions is a loss of awareness and control of their unfamiliar environment. Our ability to speak enables us to manipulate and modify the information we receive, to help the process of adaptation. With technological advancements, many more people are surviving ICU although many report distorted memories and traumatic experiences often through the lack of being able to speak to the people around them, to verify their thoughts and allay their fears and anxieties. Facilitating communication is an important role for all healthcare staff, and the skill and expertise of speech and language therapists (SLT) can help to maximise opportunities for effective communication through either verbal or non-verbal means. In turn, this improves the quality of the experience of intensive care and aids psychological and emotional recovery alongside physical improvement. This chapter shares the importance of communication, the impact of communication impairment on the patient and those around them, and provides a range of methods to support communication.


Communication Speech Aphonia Critical care Tracheostomy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jackie McRae
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aeron Ginnelly
    • 2
  • Helen Newman
    • 3
  • Gemma Clunie
    • 4
  • Mari Viviers
    • 5
  1. 1.St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK
  2. 2.Critical Care and NeurosciencesRoyal Free Hospital, Royal Free London NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK
  3. 3.Critical Care, Respiratory and SurgeryBarnet Hospital, Royal Free London NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK
  4. 4.Airways/ENT, Charing Cross HospitalLondonUK
  5. 5.Evelina London Children’s Hospital, St Thomas’ HospitalLondonUK

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