Evaluating the Impact of AAC Interventions in Reducing Hospitalization-related Stress: Challenges and Possibilities (short summary)


Hospital visits and procedures can be distressing for children and their families and an inability to communicate feelings about this or to understand what is happening can increase stress.

Hospital staff often rely on parents of children with communication difficulties to act as interpreters and have little knowledge of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and communication disabilities.

This paper looks into some of the ways in which the effects of using AAC interventions in health care can be measured.

The authors used two measures of anxiety and stress to investigate the effects of introducing AAC strategies into a children’s day surgery unit. Staff were trained to use pictorial supports to explain what was going to happen to children and to allow them to ask questions about the procedure. Measurement of salivary cortisol levels was use to assess stress, an adapted anxiety scale was used and children’s need for premedication due to anxiety or tension was considered in evaluating the effects of the AAC intervention.

Levels of parental stress and anxiety were also investigated.

In general children who had been offered the opportunity to use AAC supports with trained nursing staff showed lower levels of stress and anxiety than those in the comparison group who had not been given this support.

The study showed that measures routinely used in healthcare can be used to evaluate the effects of access to AAC strategies on children with communication disabilities if they are adapted appropriately.


Things you may want to look into:

Patient Communication in Health Care Settings: new Opportunities for Augmentative and Alternative Communication

A Metasynthesis of Patient-Provider Communication in Hospital for Patients with Severe Communication Disabilities: Informing New Translational Research

Nursing the patient with severe communication impairment

A systematic review of the effectiveness of nurse communication with patients with complex communication needs with a focus on the use of augmentative and alternative communication

Communication rights and disability online: Policy and technology after the World Summit on the Information Society

Added to site August 2016