Being in a hospital can be an upsetting experience at the best of times, but it can be compounded by not being able to communicate with care staff, family and visitors.
Some people may need a temporary means of communication, due perhaps to being intubated, whereas more long term users may not feel comfortable bringing their own devices into the ward due to infection control, being unable to instruct people on how to set it up, or not being in a position to ensure safety of often very expensive solutions.
In such cases, lower-tech options might be a good alternative. Currently, with COVID 19 restricting visits from family members and friends, some people who require support to communicate may be feeling very isolated.
We have collated some resources here that might be useful to people with difficulties communicating in hospital, but might also have a purpose as a quick way to converse about pain and sickness in general, when AAC systems are not readily accessible.
Dynavox has created a low tech communication boards in both text and symbol variations, in a wide variety of languages. These contain content around symptoms, asking for assistance, and the ability to pose questions to caregivers. It also has a handy scale at the bottom, which could be used to indicate pain levels for example. These can be downloaded from the Dynvox website by clicking here
Another source of low tech resources is Patient Provider Communication. They have a range of communication charts that can be downloaded, from simple yes/no boards, to full alphabet boards and symbol boards that include the ability to indicate needs, pain, and medical decision making. They also provide a blank template that can be completed for individual requirements. They also helpfully provide instructions on how these charts can be used for partner-assisted scanning, so even people unfamiliar with AAC systems can help those with physical limitations that might prevent them from indicating messages directly.