PURPOSEOpportunities for family interaction with comatose patients are often strictly limited. Some studies have indicated that family visits to the ICU have detrimental effects on physiologic parameters such as blood pressure and heart rate. This study was undertaken to investigate the effects of taped messages by a family member on key measures of physiological functioning in comatose head-injured patients in intensive care units.
METHODSA convenience sample of 10 comatose patients was used. Paired t-tests were performed to determine changes in physiologic measures with the introduction of family member taped messages.
FINDINGSNone of the subjects exhibited any statistically significant variables in physiologic criteria after introduction of the tapes.
CONCLUSIONSResearch to date represents conflicting results. This study demonstrated no untoward effects with exposure to taped familial messages, including no changes in intracranial pressure (ICP), blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, mean arterial pressure, oxygen saturation level, or level of restlessness. The findings support allowing family interactions with comatose head-injured patients in the ICU.
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