You are a caregiver tending to someone in coma. It could be a patient or a loved one. You may feel exhausted right now. Why? Because tending to a comatose loved one’s needs requires all your time. Communicate that you are here for him or her and, that your love keeps you by that person’s side. What can you say to promote reduced stress? It begins by thinking from your comatose person’s viewpoint.

This article contains non-medical, communication ideas to reduce stress for people in coma. Before using information found here with your client or comatose loved one, get a doctor’s approval.

Much of my communication experience with comatose or vegetative state clients comes from working in palliative care. I found that by talking with clients using phrases they use in their language patterns, peaceful communication results faster.

As a certified clinical hypnotist and brain dialog researcher, in 1990 I worked with an eight-year-old boy in vegetative state. A brain dialog researcher works to communicate with people using familiar language patterns for that person. I’ve worked since 1990 with more than one client in coma, PTSD, TBI or altered consciousness states.

To continue, after being drowned for about twenty minutes, paramedics arrived on the scene. They re-established his breathing abilities but he never regained consciousness. After rescue, they rushed him off to a huge children’s hospital.

When five week’s time passed in the hospital, doctors determined my client Jonathan needed to be placed in a long-term care facility. His grandmother introduced me to him in that facility.

Upon initial meeting, I observed him for a while pondering how to reduce stress for him. When I work with clients, I focus on creating realistic stress reduction goal achievement projects for them. He breathed in gasps through his mouth. He intermittently and unpredictably cried uncontrollably. So, in the first recorded script, I suggested some stress reducing ideas to restore relaxed breathing and a feeling of serenity. My first script contained the following hypnotic suggestions:

· That my name was Susan and I was here to be Jonathan’s friend and coach to restore peace within his mind
· That he had been in an accident
· That the accident was now over
· That he could now feel safe again
· That sometimes people in accidents like the one he experienced sometimes forget how to do everyday things like breathe calmly
· That he was in a bed and being cared for by people who loved him
· That he could breathe calmly from his nose if he preferred to breathe that way
· That he could close his mouth as he breathed if he preferred to breathe with his mouth closed
· That he no longer needed to swallow so much since he could now breathe through his nose again
· That he could, if he chose, also relax everything inside him
· That if he preferred to breathe in a relaxed way through his nose, I’d like him to let me know by giving me a signal
· I asked him that if he liked the idea, he and I could have a secret signal that would show me he had understood my suggestions
· That ‘secret’ signal could be a smile if he so chose
· That when I saw him smile, that would be his signal to me that he was ready to learn something else he liked

I asked his grandmother, who was the primary caregiver, to buy an auto-reverse tape player. I recorded and duplicated this five minute script on both sides of a cassette tape. Then, the grandmother plugged in the tape player. It played continuously so my client would hear it 24/7.

Forty-eight hours later, the grandmother excitedly called me. She implored me to stop what I was doing at that moment and that I should go to the nursing home where my client resided. I wondered what had happened.

Miraculously, my client had consciously responded to the script’s hypnotic suggestions. Each time when the tape replayed the “smile to tell me you want to learn something else” suggestion, he smiled. Only at that part in the tape did he smile. He never smiled at any other time while hearing the tape. Him smiling appropriately by hearing the smile prompt confirmed to everyone that he had HEARD and consciously responded to my request.

So, if you are working with someone in coma, there is hope. I encourage you to look for signals he/she can use as a way to consciously respond to you. That signal can include a change in blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate or perhaps be a smile.

Motivate your loved on to ‘talk’ to you. Say something encouraging and supportive. That’s a great way to give hope he/she so desperately wants.

If at first there is no conscious response, try something else. Keep working at it. Notice simple and subtle differences in his/her body actions. Work with those subtle changes in movement, breathing, heart rate, smiling, eye blinks, head turning, eye opening, whatever. And, keep praying. Pray that you will be inspired to pay attention to what really matters and see that your loved one IS in there.

Good luck.
Susan Fox
Comatalker@gmail.com

Author's Bio: 

Susan Fox is a brain dialog researcher and certified clinical hypnotist. She specializes in stress reduction and goal achievement for her clients.