Communication is key to understanding the emotional state of critical care patients.


To analyze the effectiveness of the communicative intervention known as CONECTEM, which incorporates basic communication skills and augmentative alternative communication, in improving pain, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in critical care patients transported by ambulance.


This study had a quasi-experimental design with intervention and control groups. It was carried out at 4 emergency medical centers in northern Spain. One of the centers served as the intervention unit, with the other 3 serving as control units. The nurses at the intervention center underwent training in CONECTEM. Pretest and posttest measurements were obtained using a visual analog scale to measure pain, the short-version State-Trait Anxiety Inventory to measure anxiety, and the Impact of Event Scale to measure posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms.


In the comparative pretest-posttest analysis of the groups, significant differences were found in favor of the intervention group (Pillai multivariate, F2,110 = 57.973, P < .001). The intervention was associated with improvements in pain (mean visual analog scale score, 3.3 pretest vs 1.1 posttest; P < .001) and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms (mean Impact of Event Scale score, 17.8 pretest vs 11.2 posttest; P < .001). Moreover, the percentage of patients whose anxiety improved was higher in the intervention group than in the control group (62% vs 4%, P < .001).


The communicative intervention CONECTEM was effective in improving psychoemotional state among critical care patients during medical transport.

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