Caregivers’ perceptions towards communication with mechanically ventilated patients: The results of a multicenter survey

C. E. IJssennagger, S. Ten Hoorn, A. Van Wijk, J. M. Van den Broek, A. R. Girbes, P. R. Tuinman

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate ICU health care providers’ perception towards communication and associated problems with mechanically ventilated (MV) patients. The primary aim was to quantify the extent of the problem and to determine its effect on patient care and job satisfaction. Methods: A multicenter survey study was conducted among nurses, residents and intensivists of 15 ICUs in the Netherlands using an online questionnaire. Results: Out of 1740 caregivers, 457 responses were received. Communication difficulties were experienced in half of the interactions with MV patients. Over 75% of participants indicated that patient care was negatively affected. Job satisfaction was negatively affected in 43% of the participants, primarily with feelings of unfulfillment (76%) and frustration (72%). Patient factors considered relevant to communication difficulties were delirium, disease severity and anxiety, among others. To facilitate communication, the use of basic gestures remained the most preferred method. Conclusions: In half of the interactions with MV patients, health care professionals experience significant communication difficulties. The respondents indicated that these difficulties frequently lead to negative effects on patient care and job satisfaction. These results emphasize the need for improvements such as the development of communication protocols, skills training and continued research into new communication methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-268
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Communication
  • Communication methods
  • Health care surveys
  • Intensive care
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Satisfaction

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