Narrator: This is Science Today. Patients in intensive care units, who are unable to speak, can now communicate their needs and concerns to doctors and nurses using a dry-erase communication board called the EZ-Board. UCLA Medical Center nurse, Lance Patak, who developed the EZ-Board, describes how it works.
Patak: There are several columns on the board. There's an ‘I am' column, where they can describe their state of being or their feelings – “I am short of breath, I am gagging, I am hot”. There's a column where they can list different things they want – “I want my family, I want a blanket, I want to be turned and so on and so forth.
Narrator: In a research project, Patak found that the EZ-Board, which is being used in hundreds of hospitals nationwide, did more than improve ICU patient and doctor communication.
Patak: It significantly reduced levels of frustration and communication during periods of mechanical ventilation. Also, it decreases the need for pain and anxiolytic medications.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.