Make a connection




The summary below guides you through the first steps of establishing contact, creating a connection towards communication.
Choose appealing options and get to it, good luck!

Nurses and Doctors

Always be kind with nurses and doctors, they are the ones who nurture and help the person. Ask them if you can be of help to them.

Source of Power

If the person is in an Intensive Care Unit, do feel reassured by all of the medical equipment surrounding him that probably has already been life-saving. Don't be afraid or worried by all of the tubes, wires, monitors, beeps, buzzers and other sound signals. Know that all is present to support the person. Consider all the equipment as a source of power for the comatose person’s body.


Bring some pictures (photos) from the person, taken before he was in coma. Display some nice and good pictures in his room and show them to other people. Ask other people to have positive thoughts thinking at the person the way he is pictured on those images.

Cuddly Toy

If you possess a soft toy, something this person is or was used to sleeping next to, put this next to him, even when this person is an adult, and the toy has been stuffed away in some forgotten corner for years. If this toy has a name, pronounce it while telling the toy is with him, also showing this by touching a hand or cheek with it.

Comments Book

Place a “Comments Book” at the patient’s bedside, encouraging care givers and other family members to comment about any changes or shifts observed when visiting the patient. This might also be of benefit for the comatose person to read back when he is woken up from coma.


Use the same soap and perfume so they recognize you, even if they can’t open their eyes.

Peace and quiet

Try to be at peace inside yourself. If you feel angry or upset, the comatose person won’t feel encouraged to come to the surface.


Speak in a normal way, with a normal voice – you don’t have to shout or whisper. Make short sentences. Never talk about the person in the coma to others at the bedside supposing that he cannot hear what you are saying.


Read a newspaper, magazine or a book for him. Also read a book from his childhood


Sing or play his favourite music, also music from childhood. Invite someone to come by, and play his/her favourite instrument. There might perhaps be an acquaintance, a professional, or a musical teacher to contribute. This does not need to be a full length concert, keep it briefly. Pick a few songs the comatose person likes, and repeat those a couple of times.


Bring a portable DVD-player or a laptop, and play short films, video's or TV-shows the person used to watch, also from his/her childhood. Don't feel held back even though this person's eyes are closed, he will be able to hear familiar sounds, voices, and music.

Clothing & Shoes


Bring clothes of the person, have him feel the fabrics, don't vacillate to dress the person in familiar clothes, like socks, a shirt, or other outerwear. If this appears to be hard because of the tubes and other medical connections, one can choose to cut open the shirt on the back-side, if necessary also the sleeves. to make it somewhat wearable.  You can also put his often cherished shoes on, even though the person can't see this. It will be a soothing, domestic feeling.

Sense of taste and smell


Prepare a favourite meal with a distinct scent or taste, and take this to the person who is in a coma, and try to give a taste or smell (by putting some of it on a small piece of fabric for example, keeping this under the person's nose) and ask the nurses if it's alright to bring the familiar taste to his/her mouth by putting some of it on the tongue, with a cotton swab for example. When you are not allowed to, know that the scent of it can at least give the comatose person an association with taste.



Touch the person, hold his/her hand or wrist and recount the things you did today, what happened at home. Do engage the person with every day’s life and talk about daily events.

Also, do talk about good memories from the past (a holiday, special events, school time), talk about people he knows of which you know are appreciated. Know, that the person in a coma listens eagerly, even though he is not (yet) able to respond. Remember the importance of touch, hold his/her hand when you talk.


If there is no objection from the medical staff  you can give a massage of the arms, legs, hands and don’t forget the feet. It is also possible to massage other parts of the body but it’s better to do this in consultation with the medical staff. 



If possible, grab his hand and have the comatose person touch your skin, hair, beard, clothing and anything else that can be familiar, in a way you both used to. There might also be objects with a familiar feel.

Family & Friends


Do involve family, friend, acquaintances and helping hands in this situation, ask for their support, accept their help. Ask as many as possible people for positive support. Create an internet blog or use your FaceBook (or any other online community) page to keep your acquaintances up to date with all developments, and involve them. They will be of great support, and can also help create a positive environment around the comatose person. By using the internet to show improvement to others, you prevent having to deal with all of these people by phone or email. When all of this emailing and calling starts getting too much for you, be honest about it, ask friends and other interested parties to follow your online updates. There are a lot of free blogs and social media that are easy to retain.

Reaction on a person


Try to discover if there is someone who triggers a reaction to the person in a coma, and involve this someone in establishing contact. Don't be angry or disappointed if this person isn't you.



A person likely to wake slowly from coma has, apart from your own efforts, needs what is called 'the S-Strategy':

°       Structure his day

°       Silence

°       Sleep

°       Stimulation: in short bursts of time, slow and steadily raised.

°       Socialisation: slow and steadily raised. Not too many people and not all at once.

Take good care of yourself!


Apart from all of your active effort, do realise that a comatose person also needs a lot of rest. Also keep this mind when signs of waking up start showing. Don't be in the hospital day and night, get out now and then. Take good care of yourself, eat healthy and regular and make sure you get enough rest. Go for a walk from time to time.

 IMPORTANT: Prepare for a marathon, not for a sprint!

Take your time.