Characterization of the communication resources used by patients in palliative care - an integrative review

<div><p>ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to integrative review of publications concerning the role of speech and language therapists in regards to communication strategies in palliative care, as well as the characterization of the types of communication used in these cases. The search was conducted in the databases SciELO, LILACS and PubMed from 2001 to 2016. The studies selected included abstracts or full articles addressing aspects of communication in palliative care, especially those related to speech and language therapy, with an emphasis on communication. Ten articles focused on communication, and published after 2004, were selected, half being literature reviews, two, case reports, two others, quantitative exploratory studies, and one, a qualitative exploratory study, with only 3 specifically describing the communication strategies used by speech and language therapists in patients in palliative care. The descriptors found were: palliative care, communication, speech and language therapy, quality of life, dysphagia, swallowing and elderly. Four of the ten articles showed the importance of patients communication in palliative care. When described, it is up to the speech and language therapist to provide family support, evaluate the patient, favore patient-family and patient-team intervention, manage and intervene in communication and swallowing. Finally, the most used communication strategies were non-verbal communication, communication board, electronic equipment, verbal communication and speech valve. The analysis of the characterization of the communication in palliative care over the past 15 years allowed concluding that the attention to communication is recent and is only described in a few reports, includes non-verbal communication in different ways as the most frequent resource, but provides oral communication as an important factor for maintaining dignity and comfort in this scenario. Speech and language therapist are the main interlocutors for the maintenance, mediation and adaptation of communication, within the multidisciplinary team as well as among patients, their family and the care team.</p></div>