Improving patient care

PictoComm® is a communications tool developed by CDS and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust in response to the difficulties faced by both patients and healthcare practitioners when communication is or becomes a barrier.

Presented in a book format, PictoComm® consists of over 100 bespoke illustrations to which patients can point to, to help them communicate their basic needs. The illustrative style ensures that all patients, regardless of their spoken language or ability, are able to receive the best care possible at a time when they will be feeling most vulnerable.

Coloured tabbed dividers separate the contents into six sections covering the basic needs of patients including:

  • allergies
  • feelings
  • food and drink
  • actions
  • personal items
  • people

PictoComm® is printed on a durable, waterproof polypropylene (plastic) which has a XtraProtect anti-microbial protection incorporated thereby providing a safe product for the healthcare environment.

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust identified the illustrations needed for each section. Once designed, these illustrations were tested on a number of wards, as well as among members of the general public to ensure their meanings were clear and effective.


PictocommUniversity Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust has implemented PictoComm™ throughout the hospital and it is available at each bedside table. Barbara Hay, Head of Diversity said “We chose to make PictoComm™ available to everyone, thereby ensuring accessibility for all our patients.”

Our, PictoComm® Sales Manager said “We were very keen to extend our knowledge and expertise in communicating with vulnerable groups to the health sector. With changing demographics it is becoming more and more important to improve communication between patients and hospital staff. It also echoes our commitment to ensure that people have access to information and are able to communicate effectively.

PictoComm® achieves this and we look forward to working with other NHS Trusts and developing PictoComm™ further to suit the needs of specific departments.”


The University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust chose CDS to create PictoComm® because of our expertise in designing accessible communications. CDS has become the market leader in such formats and is the preferred supplier to Government departments including Office for Disability Issues, Department for Work and Pensions and Government Equalities Office.

See further examples of other accessible formats.

How to order PictoComm®

To order copies of PictoComm® please contact Ed Steele on 0113 399 4102.