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Most of us remember our first nursing
instructor advising us to talk to our unconscious patients,
telling us hearing was the "last sense to go."
While most of us heeded this advice, it was difficult to do
since there was no response from the patient. We never knew
if what we were saying made a difference or not.
From current research we now know our
instructor was right and wrong. There are definitely times
unconscious patients hear, but cannot communicate this
awareness. But hearing is not the last sense to go;
From interviews conducted with over 100
patients who had been unconscious, five states were described
as having been experienced by these patients:
- inner awareness,
- perceived unconsciousness,
- distorted consciousness and
Most patients reported having one of these
states predominate the experience, but many reported
experiencing more than one state.