Novel Approaches

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

Theresa H. Brunner

 Kristyn DiFortuna  Kristyn DiFortuna

Michael LeTang Michael LeTang

Jane Murphy

Kara Stemplewicz

 Magda Kovacs  Magda Kovacs

 Antonio P. P. DeRosa

 Donna S. Gibson

Pamela K. Ginex
communication, technology, augmentative and alternative communication, head and neck surgery
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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