The literature clearly establishes the problems and difficulties of loss of speech among mechanically ventilated patients in the intensive care unit. Critical care nurses typically receive little or no training in the interpretation of nonvocal communication or in the assessment and application of augmentative communication methods. This article presents an integrative review of the research and related literature on communication with adult patients in critical care settings. Clinical issues and technological advancements in assistive and augmentative communication applicable to critical care are discussed and a new research agenda is proposed.

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