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John Costello (Boston Children's Hospital): Patient Provider Communication

John Costello (Boston Children's Hospital) and Sarah Blackstone discuss strategies for improving patient provider communication. John describes a case in which AAC strategies were used to promote communication between a young child who spoke Arabic and his family members and medical staff.

John Costello

John Costello is a speech-language pathologist and Director of the Augmentative Communication Program at Children's Hospital Boston. In 1994 he established a dedicated inpatient augmentative communication program focused on supporting communication vulnerable patients in the intensive and acute care setting to more effectively communicate and participate in their own care. He has created and published a model for pre-operative message banking and is currently developing a message banking model to support persons with neurodegenerative conditions. John has lectured widely nationally and internationally on the topic of AAC in the Intensive and Acute Care Setting and has published several related papers. John Costello


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*Bartlett, G., Blais, R., Tamblyn, R., Clermont, R.J., & MacGibbon, B. (2008) Impact of patient communication problems on the risk of preventable adverse events in acute care settings. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 178 (2).

Costello, J. Last words, last connections: How augmentative communication can support children facing end of life, The ASHA Leader 15 (2009), 8–11.

Costello, J. Augmentative Communication in the Intensive Care Unit: The Children’s Hospital Boston Model, Augmentative and Alternative Communication 16(3) (2000), 137–153.

Costello, J. Patak, L and Wilson-Stronks, A. AAC and communication vulnerable patients: A call to action, American Speech and Hearing Association Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois, 2008.

Costello, J, Patak, L and Pritchard, J. Communication vulnerable patients in the pediatric ICU: Enhancing care through augmentative and alternative communication Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine: An Interdisciplinary Approach 3 (2010) 289–301

Dowden, P., Beukelman, D. and Lossing C, Serving nonspeaking patients in acute care settings: Intervention outcomes, Augmentative and Alternative Communication 2 (1986), 38– 44.

Dowden, P.,Honsinger, H and Beukelman, D Serving non- speaking patients in acute care settings: An intervention approach, Augmentative and Alternative Communication 2 (1986), 25–32.

Ebert, D., Communication disabilities among medical inpatients, New England Journal of Medicine 3 (1998), 339–272.

Fried-Oken, M. Howard, J.M. and Stewart, S.R., Feedback on AAC Intervention from adults who are temporarily un- able to speak, Augmentative and Alternative Communication 7 (1991), 43–50.

Garrett, K, Happ, MB, Costello, J and Fried-Oken, M AAC in the ICU, in Augmentative Communication Strategies for Adults with Acute or Chronic Medical Conditions, D. Beukelman, K. Garrett and K. Yorkson, eds., Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company, Maryland, 2007

*Patak, L., Wilson-Stronks, A., Costello, J., Kleinpell, R., Henneman, E. A., Person, C., & Happ, M. B. (2009). Improving patient-provider communication: A call to action. Journal of Nursing Administration, 39(9), 372-376.

*The Joint Commission. (2010a). Advancing effective communication, cultural competence, and patient- and family-centered care: A roadmap for hospitals. Oakbrook Terrace, IL: Author.

(Produced  by David McNaughton, Penn State University)


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