Email: info@revive-icu.co.uk
Revive - Charity For The Regional Intensive
Care Unit, Royal Hospitals

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Eye Controlled Computer Gives Patients a Voice in RICU

The presence of breathing tubes in Intensive Care can make reading a patient’s lips and interpreting needs challenging.  Some patients are able to communicate through pen and paper or lip reading, however for many others this is just not possible. Hands may be swollen and they may be very weak, which makes it hard to hold a pen.

The inability to communicate can be frightening and frustrating for our patients and can lead to unmet needs for them and clinicians may not be sure of their patients understanding.

The team in ICU are developing a range of communications methods for all patients in their care, and in the first instance have focused on the most vulnerable patients who have lost the ability to move completely. These patients can communicate with their eyes only.

REVIVE have provided a computer capable of eye-tracking to  help patients communicate (Tobii).  This is a high end  system which allows a patient to quickly build sentences and have them spoken aloud.

Feedback from our first user Mickey was extremely positive. Mickey was able to communicate with staff and even with family and friends at home using the device. One nurse caring for him commented that she was not aware of what a fantastic sense of humour he had until he used the device. For Mickey the ability to seek assistance when required was invaluable.

Staff Nurse April Linton who leads the communication group said,

“The team do not want to eliminate other types of communication, rather help this particular group of patients to elicit full conversations with their families and staff caring for them. We hope to provide a supplemental range of solutions such as iPads and simple communication boards to meet the needs of all our patients and this is a first step. We are delighted REVIVE have supported this vital work.”

Picture: Mickey and his wife Ashley picture with the Tobii.

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