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Novel Approaches

Using Technology to Give Patients a Voice After Surgery for Head and Neck Cancer

Theresa H. Brunner
 Kristyn DiFortuna
Michael LeTang
Jane Murphy
Kara Stemplewicz
 Magda Kovacs
 Antonio P. DeRosa
 Donna S. Gibson
Pamela K. Ginex
CJON 2016, 20(5), 474-476 DOI: 10.1188/16.CJON.474-476

For patients with head and neck cancer, altered communication is a frequently occurring and highly upsetting issue that has been associated with psychological distress, fear, and anger among those with temporary or permanent speech impairment postsurgery. Many postoperative patients express that the most terrifying situation is to wake up from surgery and not be able to speak. Mobile devices have become part of everyday life, and augmentative and alternative communication mobile applications have the potential to enhance the healthcare journey of the patient and provider.

At a Glance

  • Patients with cancer undergoing head and neck surgery often experience psychological stress associated with the inability to effectively communicate.
  • Communication challenges often occur in the postoperative period, and using technology to assist with communication can be beneficial to the patient and nurse.
  • The use of mobile devices and augmentive and alternative communication mobile applications in the healthcare setting can lead to less stress, improved patient–provider communication, and increased patient satisfaction and outcomes.

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