Coma Communication: Step Two (Professional Group Learning Track)

STEP TWO: CONVERSATION WITH OTHERS                                               30 min.


Trust the power of collective wisdom as you engage with others‒ using the lessons from the video as a jumping board for sharing.  Focus on the questions that can best support your role and experience as caregiver.

Possibilities in Life Transition Series
Lesson Three: Coma Communication

ACT Step Two

1. “The importance of communication to unconscious patients has long been known. Both qualitative and quantitative studies have shown evidence of the benefits of effective communication. The unconscious patients have a considerable need for information and support, so verbal communication can provide orientating and meaningful sensory input to these patients. . . . In addition, communication experts emphasized that the use of nonverbal communication in the form of caring touch with verbal communication has a considerable outcome for unconscious patients.” – Othman & EL-hady (“Effect of implementing structured communication messages on the clinical outcomes of unconscious patients”)

2.“Indeed, in several rare cases, functional neuroimaging [fMRI] has demonstrated conscious awareness in patients who are assumed to be vegetative, yet retain cognitive abilities that have evaded detection using standard clinical methods. Similarly, in some patients diagnosed as minimally conscious, functional neuroimaging has revealed residual cognitive capabilities that extend well beyond that evident from even the most comprehensive behavioral assessment.”  - Owen, Schiff, and Laureys (“A new era of coma and consciousness science”)

3.“Coma Communication Principles:

-Someone is always home

-Assume the individual can hear

-Explain your interactions

-Connect in some way, such as synchronizing your breathing” – Soul & Science Lesson

4.“A new Northwestern Medicine and Hines VA Hospital study shows the voices of loved ones telling the patient familiar stories stored in their long-term memory can help awaken the unconscious brain and speed recovery from the coma.”- Marla Paul, (“Family Voices and Stories Speed Coma Recovery”)


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