July 23, 2014
Cheyenne, WY–With a $1,400 grant from its Foundation, the Cheyenne Regional Intensive Care Unit has recently purchased three new electrolarynx devices. These innovative devices are typically used in people who have had surgery of the larynx, but have recently proven useful in the ICU for patients who are unable to communicate effectively without assistance. Cheyenne Regional is one of the first hospitals in Wyoming to use the electrolarynx.
When a patient is intubated, the vocal chords are often temporarily compromised, impairing the ability to speak. Intubation is a procedure that places a flexible plastic tube into the trachea in order to allow ventilation of the lungs and/or administer medication. Communicating with intubated patients can be challenging for patients, care providers and patients’ relatives. The electrolarynx device produces vibrations that allow the patient to speak, even while intubated.
“Physically, the value of the electrolarynx device is quite significant. It’s a way for the patient to vocalize and verbalize their wishes during times that they’re critically ill—when life and death decisions are being made on their behalf by others while they’re being intubated and/or on life-support,” said Dr. Sodienye Tetenta, a pulmonologist and Critical Care physician at Cheyenne Regional who introduced the use of the electrolarynx to the hospital.
An article in the New England Journal of Medicine triggered Dr. Tetenta’s interest in purchasing these devices for use in the ICU at Cheyenne Regional with patients who are in critical condition and intubated.
Stephen Stone, the Executive Director of Cheyenne Regional’s Foundation, explained that funding from the Foundation is determined based on highest impact. “We look for funding opportunities with the biggest impact on patients, which are our highest priority—to help with their comfort, recovery rate, and aid in their medical treatment,” he said.
About Cheyenne Regional: Cheyenne Regional is an independent healthcare system composed of two primary medical center facilities (CRMC East and CRMC West) and Cheyenne Regional Medical Group (CRMG), a wide-reaching clinic system with more than 70 providers offering an extensive variety of healthcare services throughout the region, serving the people of Southeast Wyoming, Northern Colorado and Western Nebraska.