In a pilot program at Stanford University Medical Center, implementation of communication whiteboards measurably improved non-verbal patients’ awareness of physician names, treatment goals and estimated discharge dates.
Another experiment at York Hospital in York, Penn., found that adding a simple phrase to a patient communication board could have dramatic safety effects. After the words “call a nurse, a fall is worse”, were added to the hospital’s in-room patient whiteboards, the incidence of patient falls declined by 62%.
Communication boards have also been found to be instrumental to the overall satisfaction of non-verbal individuals. The Institute for Healthcare Communication identified nine core elements of user satisfaction, five of which speak directly to the function and benefits of a communication board:
Communication: Explain information clearly, understand the user’s experience and provide viable options.
Control: Encourage the user to express their ideas, concerns, and expectations.
Decision-making: Acknowledge the importance of the user’s social and mental functioning, as much as their physical functioning.
Dignity: Treat the user with respect and invite them to partner in decisions that concern their wellbeing and autonomy.
Expectations: Provide an opportunity for the user to tell their story.
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