The role of the physical environment in conversations between people who are communication vulnerable and health-care professionals: a scoping review

Steffy E. A. Stans*, Ruth J. P. Dalemans, Luc P. de Witte, Hester W. H. Smeets, Anna J. Beurskens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Purpose: The role of the physical environment in communication between health-care professionals and persons with communication problems is a neglected area. This study provides an overview of factors in the physical environment that play a role in communication during conversations between people who are communication vulnerable and health-care professionals.

Method: A scoping review was conducted using the methodological framework of Arksey and O'Malley. The PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL and Cochrane Library databases were screened, and a descriptive and thematic analysis was completed.

Results: Sixteen publications were included. Six factors in the physical environment play a role in conversations between people who are communication vulnerable and health-care professionals: (1) lighting, (2) acoustic environment, (3) humidity and temperature, (4) setting and furniture placement, (5) written information, and (6) availability of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) tools. These factors indicated barriers and strategies related to the quality of these conversations.

Conclusions: Relatively small and simple strategies to adjust the physical environment (such as adequate lighting, quiet environment, providing pen and paper) can support people who are communication vulnerable to be more involved in conversations. It is recommended that health-care professionals have an overall awareness of the potential influence of environmental elements on conversations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2594-2605
Number of pages12
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Volume39
Issue number25
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Communication
  • conversations
  • neurological disorders
  • physical environment
  • HOSPITAL STROKE UNITS
  • OF-THE-LITERATURE
  • REHABILITATION OUTCOMES
  • APHASIA
  • PATIENT
  • DISABILITY
  • BARRIERS
  • PARTICIPATION
  • PROVIDERS
  • IMPACT

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