Are Communication Boards effective?

Communication boards significantly enhance the language skills of non-verbal individuals, alleviate communication-related anxieties, and elevate user safety and satisfaction. Studies from reputable institutions, such as Stanford University Medical Center and York Hospital, demonstrate the tangible benefits of communication boards in both safety and satisfaction parameters.

Communication boards have not only been shown to be effective at improving language ability in non-verbal persons, and reducing anxiety around communication. They have also been shown to be effective at ensuring higher levels of safety and satisfaction for non-verbal users. 

User Safety

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%.

User Satisfaction

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:

  1. Communication: Explain information clearly, understand the user’s experience and provide viable options.
  2. Control: Encourage the user to express their ideas, concerns, and expectations.
  3. Decision-making: Acknowledge the importance of the user’s social and mental functioning, as much as their physical functioning.
  4. Dignity: Treat the user with respect and invite them to partner in decisions that concern their wellbeing and autonomy. 
  5. Expectations: Provide an opportunity for the user to tell their story.

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