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Inpatients with cerebral palsy and complex communication needs identified barriers to communicating with nurses

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S Balandin

Correspondence to: Dr S Balandin, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia;


How do patients with cerebral palsy and complex communication needs (CCNs) describe their hospital communication experiences, communication barriers, and effective communication strategies?


Qualitative study.


Surgical, medical, emergency, intensive care, and rehabilitation settings in metropolitan teaching hospitals in Australia.


10 adults (age range 35–61 y, 50% men) with cerebral palsy and CCNs (limited or no functional speech), who were in hospital for ⩾3 days in the past 2 years, had a functional method of communication, and did not have an intellectual disability.


Patients participated in individual semi-structured interviews that lasted 60 minutes. The interviews addressed patients’ perspectives on positive and negative experiences of being in hospital with CCNs, focusing on communication-related issues. Data were analysed thematically.


(1) Methods of communication. 9 patients communicated using dysarthric speech; other methods included speech-generating devices (SGDs), spelling boards, and writing. All patients understood …

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  • Source of funding: Northern Sydney Area Health.