Introduction: Non-verbal communication is very difficult and demanding for patients on mechanical ventilation. Not only are they unable to express themselves verbally, they are often depressive, scared, angry and very uncomfortable because of their condition, which makes the situation even worse. In addition, they cannot move, lack strength and knowledge, or are sedated. Health care staff may also become uninterested in their issues, which can cause misunderstanding due to insufficient knowledge or lack of empathy. Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to provide an overview of relevant literature, discuss the significance of non-verbal communication with a patient on mechanical ventilation, point to potential issues, and present the most successful and efficient types of non-verbal communication. Methods: This thesis is based on a descriptive research method involving an examination of relevant scientific literature from the period 2005–2016 and a presentation of the findings. The literature was found through the COBIB.SI bibliographic/catalogue database, the CINAHL data base with Full Text, and the ScienceDirect and Medline databases. Discussion and conclusion: The results of 14 relevant articles suggest that patients on mechanical ventilation experience negative feelings due to their inability to express themselves verbally. They are stressed and afraid, which is why it is up to the nurse to identify any obstacles and help the patient overcome them by finding the most effective way to communicate in a non-verbal manner. The most successful method of communication with such patients is communication boards featuring letters and pictures that patients can point at. However, hand squeezing and closing/opening the eyes to indicate a yes or a no are also common forms of communication. Patients on mechanical ventilation are in distress because they cannot communicate verbally, meaning that they are deprived of communication – their basic need. They can use non-verbal communication to express their wishes, but the nurse must possess sufficient knowledge and experience to react properly and provide assistance.