Communication is Vital: Learn how the WI UCEDD is helping pave the way for intubated COVID-19 patients

May 18, 2020

At the Waisman Center, home of Wisconsin's LEND, IDDRC, and UCEDD, clinicians in the Communication Aids and Systems Clinic (CASC) join a new international task force designed to help patients on ventilators communicate while intubated. CASC is one of 10 different specialty clinics within the Waisman Center and offers specialized services for those who benefit from augmentative and alternative communication aids (AAC). One clinician in CASC, Sarah Marshall, a speech-language pathologist (SLP), has been working with the international task force to develop free communication supports and tools for patients on ventilators due to COVID-19. For patient's suffering from this potentially life-threatening illness, communication with providers and loved ones can be vital. Due to restrictions placed on visitors and the nature of intubation, patients needing intubation and placed on ventilators often find themselves alone and unable to communicate their needs.

This is where the task force comes in. An international team of SLP's, engineers, researchers, and other health providers working together on the Patient Provider Communication task force (PPC), aim to support communication at this critical time. On the PPC website, providers can access free healthcare communication boards that offer communication support for a range of ages and abilities, even for those who are experiencing visual and or motor complications. Boards are currently available in both English and Spanish and directions for providers are also available and include training videos and written guides.
Learn more about the task force and view their resources here:

To learn more about how CASC and the WI UCEDD are supporting patients during this time, visit