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Communication in Health & Social Care Essay

1. Understand why effective communication is important in the work setting

1.1 – Identify the different reasons people communicate

To express needs; to share ideas and information; to reassure; to express feelings; to build relationships; socialise; to ask questions; to share experiences People communicate in order to establish and maintain relationships with others, to give and receive information and instructions, to understand and be understood, to share opinions, knowledge, feelings, emotions, to give encouragement and show others they are valued.

Communication is an essential tool a carer can use to meet the needs of those they are caring for. It is a basic requirement of my job role to communicate with individuals and their families, other members of staff on a daily basis. Communicating with other staff members ensures effective team working and continuity of care. It also ensures any health and safety issues are recognised and reported. All carers attend hand over at the beginning of each shift and also complete communication books after attending an individual, thereby keeping other staff informed and aware of current situations within the workplace.

Individuals communicate with carers to express their needs and preferences and to ensure they are met. As a carer I would discuss the options and choices available to the individual to allow them an informed choice regards their care.

1.2 – Explain how communication affects relationships in the work setting

Effective communication is more than just talking, and is essential for the well-being of the individuals you care for. It includes body language, gestures, facial expressions, positioning and appearance. It is important to be aware of non-verbal communication when interacting with individuals at work.

Communication is a fundamental relationship-building skill in the workplace. If people don’t communicate well they limit their ability to connect on any meaningful level and, at the extreme, can create conflict. Positive communication skills like listening, open questions, calm tone of voice. These help bring people together because they are behaviours that lead to creating relationships. Workplace relationships also become a lot stronger when people can clearly and effectively communicate what they need and allow others to do the same.

2. Be able to meet the communication and language needs, wishes and preferences of individuals

2.2 – Describe the factors to consider when promoting effective communication It is impossible to do without communication in health and social care, we have many reasons to communicate and it is essential communication is done effectively without misunderstanding others or being misunderstood. We communicate with:

Patients, residents, clients, Health care professionals, Managers and supervisors, Family and friends.

Factors to consider: – that most communication is non-verbal, that information must be factual and concise and not be littered with personal opinions (and documented in the same manner). Documented care should be dated, timed and signed. This last point is particularly important when maintaining medication records).

There are many other factors to consider when promoting effective communication such as: – environment – is the location correct, it is noisy, do you need privacy, is the communication able to flow freely whilst doing a task or is a formal place required. – proximity – the better you know a person the closer you will be and sharing information is easier – closeness can encourage effective communication. Do you need to reposition yourself or say chairs around you to ensure you make effective use of the space around you so it is not a barrier to communication. – body positioning/body language – do you need to lean towards the person to encourage communication and show them you are interested but going too close can be invading someone’s “space”.

Standing directly in front of someone may be interpreted as being too direct. Body language needs to be considered – arms crossed can be perceived as defensive and not open to communication. Standing over a person may also seem intimidating – do you need to kneel down onto someone’s level. – touch – A light touch on a person’s arm or hand can communicate caring and understanding, but sometimes touch can feel intrusive, even threatening. Touch is a safeguarding issue and you must never impose yourself physically on a vulnerable adult.

You also need to consider the method of communication and what is the best way for effective communication such as – written (emails, texts, letters, reports etc), verbal (face to face or over telephone).

You will also need to consider cultural differences when promoting effective communication. Acknowledging and responding to the cultural aspects of a person’s identity and care needs are strategies that are likely to enhance communication. Avoid general assumptions that beliefs about issues such as diet, personal care practices, sleeping arrangements and ‘health’ are shared by all service users.

Another factor is language differences – Language is a central feature of any communication process. There is often an assumption in care settings that the language of the dominant culture should be used, which in most cases is English. Where care professionals are involved, this may also include use of technical health or social care jargon. Avoid using jargon where possible as it can confuse service users who are unfamiliar with the specialist terms.

Physical difficulties influence the way individuals are able to communicate. This is another factor to consider. You need to be sensitive to the specific needs of individuals so communication is facilitated from the start. For example, if a person has difficulty enunciating (speaking clearly) following a stroke, allow enough time for a conversation to take place, check frequently that you are receiving their message correctly and reassure the person that they don’t need to rush.

You also need to fact in those people with hearing difficulties or those who are visually impaired. You need to consider whether the person’s hearing aid is in and working, speaking clearly and concisely, ensure you speak directly to the person’s face or in front of them. Use facial expressions to aid understanding. With visually impaired ensure you introduce that you are there before launching into a conversation, use light touches on the body to let someone know you are there and make sure clearly end a conversation and let the person know if you are leaving. 3. Be able to overcome barriers to communication

3.1 – Explain how people from different background may use and/or interpret communication methods in different ways

Diversity is something to be celebrated however everyone being different can cause issues with communication. We are all different and interpret information in different ways so we need to ensure we consider peoples differences when communicating.

Cultural differences can mean people interpret communication differently. What is acceptable in one culture may not be in another e.g. a handshake between a man and woman may not be allowed, addressing the opposite sex may not be allowed, personal care of the opposite sex may not be allowed.

People may also not be competent in communicating effectively – they may not have had a formal education or have special educational needs therefore it is important to consider how that individual can interpret information and in turn communicate themselves.

In simple terms a person’s personality also affects how they communicate and respond to communication. A quiet introverted person may not be heard about a loud extrovert person. Also that person may not be able to digest information in a room that is full of loud, noisy people. Similarly a person who likes noise and a room full of chatter may not prefer a quiet environment and could “switch off”.


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