Demonstration of Facial Communication of Emotion Through Telehospice Videophone Contact




Schmidt, Karen L.
Gentry, Amanda
Monin, Joan K.
Courtney, Karen L.

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Mary Anne Liebert, Incorporated


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the range of emotional expressions that can be displayed by nurse and family caregiver during a telehospice videophone consultation. We hypothesized that a nurse providing telehospice care via videophone would gain access to rich nonverbal emotional signals from the caregiver and communicate her own social presence to the caregiver, to potentially enhance the building of empathy between nurse and caregiver. Methodology: Videorecording of a case exemplar of videophone contact was obtained using the Beamer, a commercially available product that allows display of both caller and receiver on an available television through standard telephone lines. Nonverbal communication through facial expressions of emotion was quantified using detailed coding of facial movement and expression (facial action coding system). Results: In this study, we demonstrated the presence of visual nonverbal information in the form of facial expressions of emotion during a videophone interaction between nurse and family caregiver. Over the course of a typical after-hours telehospice call, a variety of facial expressions of emotion were displayed by both nurse and family caregiver. Expression of positive and negative emotions, as well as mixed emotions, was apparent. Through detailed analysis of this case of videophone interaction, we have demonstrated the potential value of videophone contact for providing access to visual nonverbal emotional communication.



telenursing, nonverbal, facial expression


Schmidt, K., Gentry, A., Monin, J. & Courtney, K. 2011, "Demonstration of Facial Communication of Emotion Through Telehospice Videophone Contact", TELEMEDICINE AND E-HEALTH, vol. 17, no. 5, pp. 399-401.