Communication cards

Communication cards contain a set of icons that patients can use if they are having difficulty communicating their immediate needs, wants or concerns. 

Patients, families, clinical staff and the Interpreting service have helped determine the icons that they believe will be the most useful for patients.

The icons are in an order of hierarchy that is similar to the well-researched concept of Intentional Rounding.  The focus is on priority needs: pain, elimination, positioning, environment and personal needs or possessions.

The cards can be printed and left with the patient at the bedside. Patients and their families can point to the relevant icons to help their communication with staff. It is hoped that these cards will improve the safety and quality of care for some of our patients who may not be able to communicate effectively.  

The cards, designed by the Design for Health and Wellbeing Lab, have been translated into 12 languages:

Arabic [PDF, 329 KB]

Blank [PDF, 87 KB]

Burmese [PDF, 11 MB]

Chinese (simplified) [PDF, 107 KB]

Chinese (traditional) [PDF, 111 KB]

English [PDF, 1.5 MB]

French [PDF, 89 KB]

Hindi [PDF, 331 KB]

Korean [PDF, 103 KB]

Maori [PDF, 88 KB]

Russian [PDF, 98 KB]

Samoan [PDF, 88 KB]

Tongan [PDF, 89 KB]

Vietnamese [PDF, 91 KB]

How do I use these cards?

Print a copy of the communication card for the language spoken by your patient. This can remain with the patient for their use during their stay, and they can even take it home with them.

You should prompt patients to point to the icons to help communicate any immediate needs or wants.

There is also a blank version of the card, which has a space for an Interpreter, family member or friend to write in the translations for languages not represented here.

These communication cards are a helpful support to meet immediate communication needs. They do not remove the need for an interpreter. 

The communication cards can be disposed of in the recycling bins if the patient no longer requires them.