Interventions to enable communication for adult patients requiring an artificial airway with or without mechanical ventilator support

The primary objective of this review is to assess the effectiveness of communication aids for patients requiring an artificial airway (endotracheal or tracheostomy tube), defined as the proportion of patients able to:

  • use a non-vocal communication aid to communicate at least one symptom, need or preference; or
  • use a voice enabling communication aid to phonate to produce at least one intelligible word.

Secondary objectives are to assess the effects on:

  • time to communication (non-vocal aid) of a symptom, need or preference or time to phonation of intelligible speech (voice enabling aid);
  • patient and/or communication partner (family, friend, caregiver or healthcare professional with whom a patient may interact) reported perceptions of communication including: ease/difficulty, satisfaction/frustration, aid/technique usability and acceptability/unacceptability;
  • communication frequency, quality, success, and efficiency;
  • health-related quality of life/satisfaction with life;
  • emotional and psychological distress;
  • length of stay and healthcare utilisation costs; and
  • adverse events including: respiratory instability (altered respiratory rate; oxygen desaturation); haemodynamic instability (tachy/bradycardia; hyper/hypotension); need for tracheostomy change; use of physical restraints; treatment interference.


This is a protocol.

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