Unit 5 Use and Develop systems that promote Communication
Learning outcome 1
1.1 I communicate with a wide range of groups and individuals on a daily, weekly, and less frequent basis within my role as care home manager. These include other managers, operations manager, managing director and company owners as well as support workers, clients, team leaders, social workers, care managers, families, health and educational professionals, learning disability team members from 6 different boroughs etc. I communicate with all of these people in writing and verbally and also by listening. I have to utilise different skills when communicating with the different individuals mentioned, for example clients may need to feel valued supported and understood when I am looking at their daily activities or dietary needs, I may need to adapt the way I communicate to ensure I am understood, using Makaton, pictures of reference or objects to reference. This is when I usually speak to some clients who are nonverbal. I believe there may occur the barriers to communication if I do not assess how to communicate with every individual I have to deal with.
When I am speaking with people who I am the manager of I need to know they understand my instructions, and understand that as their superior they have to do the duties that I request of them, this also has to be communicated with a mutual air of respect to ensure people are happy to carry out the tasks I have requested of them. I am happy to use visual aids and also to communicate by example, therefore if I am discussing an issue with the staff I will quite happily show them what is required and how to achieve the desired result to ensure there is no misunderstanding of the request. It also believe that it is vital that I listen to their suggestions and ideas and act upon them to ensure they are always happy and comfortable communicating with me. When talking to parents it is important to portray empathy and understanding as opposed to sympathy. Listening to what parents have to say is vital to ensure the client receives the best care available in the eyes of the parents especially. It is important to develop the trustworthy relationship with the family, which can only be done by an effective communication. In our care home we ensure to keep a very close contact with the parents and share the thoughts that best suits the clients. We ensure that parents feel their opinions are valued as well as the best care decisions are made for the clients we care for.
Our client groups are mainly nonverbal and do require extra input to ensure they are explained their care needs as well as day to day things. Our company has a private speech and language therapist who has been assessing out clients for few months to help us understand their needs and how to best communicate with them. They helped us develop the activity boards, that has the pictures to reference of all the activities they undertake weekly basis. The board is updated twice a day and the clients are given the opportunity to choose what they want to do or where they want to go etc. this helps myself and the carers to understand them and also to communicate effectively with the clients.
As I have mentioned above I also communicate with the wde range of professionals on regular basis, through my years of experience as a care home manager I have developed the skills to be very professional and to communicate with all professionals confidently. The effective communication is the key factor when speaking to them which can only be done with a very clear verbal speech. When I am leading the meetings with the professionals I ensure that I am very prepared for the speech to ensure I pass on right information to them, which is a brilliant example of an excellent communication and this also helps for them to develop a professional relationship with me. I have learnt from experience that if you do demonstrate your knowledge of the subject you are describing, people around you will gain trust in you, which is an excellent way of building a trustworthy and professional relationship.
1.2 my job role as a care home manage, it is important to have good communication skills to develop positive relationships and share information with people using services. I also need to be able to communicate well with client’s families, carers, colleagues and other professionals as mentioned in 1.1. Good verbal communication is an inseparable part of professional communication. In a business, I believe you come across people from various ages, cultures and races. Fluent verbal communication is essential, to deal with people in important meetings or other events/situations. I also think that a self-confidence plays a vital role which when clubbed with fluent communication skills can lead to success and I make sure I don’t forget this when communicating in my job role. I carry out the supervisions to my team leaders as well as support workers to promote and support an effective communication within their role.
I ensure they undertake the relevant training to help them communicate better to lead our company to a success. Within my role I sometimes had to do public speaking which I had to address a group of people and as we already know this is another form of verbal communication. I always ensure I am well prepared and organised for an effective speech. I do strongly believe In public speaking, my speech must be prepared according to the type of audience I are going to face. The content of my speech should be authentic and I must have enough information on the topic I have chosen for public speaking. I ensure all the main points in my speech are highlighted and these points are delivered in the correct order.
I use Interpersonal skills, as those skills that enable me to interact with another person, allowing me to communicate successfully with them. Good communication skills are vital for working in Health & Social Care as they help to: * Develop positive relationships with service users and their family and friends, so they can understand and meet their needs. * Develop positive relationships with work colleagues and other professionals. * Share information with people using the services, by providing and receiving information. * Report on the work I do with people.
1.3 Analyse the barriers and challenges to communication within own job role Communication is at the heart of everything we do in our society. It’s central to our learning, our work and our leisure interests. But it’s particularly important in health care, where patients/clients can feel vulnerable, alone and frightened, and where you’ll be working with colleagues in the health care team who rely on good communication to help them deliver safe, coordinated and effective care. I believe effective Communication is significant and a fundamental relationship-building skill in the workplace for any employee especially for managers to perform the basic functions of management, i.e., Planning, Organising, Leading and Controlling. If people don’t communicate well they limit their ability to connect on any meaningful level which can create conflict.
As a care home manager, It is important that for any employee I work with show respect to those he or she works with. The general social care council’s code of practice states that communications should be conducted in an appropriate, open, accurate and straightforward way. By communicating in this way others will have trust and confidence in any employee and their abilities. I think the workplace relationships become a lot stronger when people can clearly and effectively communicate one another. There are several barriers that may affect the flow of communication in any organisation. These barriers interrupt the flow of communication from the sender to the receiver, thus making communication ineffective. It is essential for managers or all employees to overcome these barriers.
Common Barriers to Effective Communication:
The use of jargon. Over-complicated, unfamiliar and/or technical terms. Emotional barriers and taboos. Some people may find it difficult to express their emotions and some topics may be completely ‘off-limits’ or taboo. Lack of attention, interest, distractions, or irrelevance to the receiver. (See our page Barriers to Effective Listening for more information). Differences in perception and viewpoint.
Physical disabilities such as hearing problems or speech difficulties. Physical barriers to non-verbal communication. Not being able to see the non-verbal cues, gestures, posture and general body language can make communication less effective. Language differences and the difficulty in understanding unfamiliar accents. Expectations and prejudices which may lead to false assumptions or stereotyping. People often hear what they expect to hear rather than what is actually said and jump to incorrect conclusions. Cultural differences. The norms of social interaction vary greatly in different cultures, as do the way in which emotions are expressed. For example, the concept of personal space varies between cultures and between different social settings.
To communicate effectively, you must be fully attentive. Anything that distracts your attention serves as a barrier to effective communication. These distractions can come in many forms. At times the distractions are physical, such as noise that makes the otherwise simple task of hearing the message difficult. At other times, the distraction can be internal. For example, if you allow your thoughts or emotional response to the message to get in the way of your listening to the full content, you may be internally distracted. While overcoming distraction is challenging, you can accomplish the task if you select settings conducive to communication and dedicate yourself to active listening from the start to the end of the communication session. I always ensure to have a quiet space away from busy environment when speaking to staff and giving them the instructions, this promotes the full concentration and clarity of the conversation/communication.
People may think that they are doing everything possible to assist communication, but they should make sure that they are not making it difficult for people to understand what they say for instance using abbreviations another person does not understand. People should avoid professional jargon and terminology, which I strongly promote in our care home by Minimize the use of slang and idioms when delivering the message, Keep the language used in the message simple and as free as possible from business speak , Make clarity and simplicity the goal over showcasing linguistic ability. As mentioned above there are also the cultural barriers,there are many factors that make up what we refer to as “culture” but to me, cultural difference is about attitudes and beliefs that come from our personal environment and experience. As such, two people could get the same message but interpret it in two entirely different ways simply because their frames of reference and language differ. Assumptions sabotage effective communication and have the potential to lead everyone down unintended paths. For instance, you may assume that because people are nodding while you speak, they understand and agree with what you are saying. Similarly, if you invite questions about your message and get none, it would be easy to assume there are none.
The truth is, few people will risk the potential embarrassment of being the only one who doesn’t agree with or understand your message or doesn’t know what to ask. To assume they do would be a mistake. Usually I always think and analyse that all assumptions could be false, I make the assumption known to determine their validity. I also anticipate questions and concerns that could come out of my message and bring them up to encourage conversation. Here’s also other barriers that I believe that can affect the communication: Time-Communicating effectively takes time. If I fail to dedicate the time necessary, but instead attempt to share my thoughts and ideas in a hurried manner, I run the risk of not communicating effectively or creating misunderstandings.
I always try to void this barrier by making communication a priority, as it is a powerful workplace tool. Distance-If the people you are trying to communicate with are all situated in one office, you will likely find communication easier than you would if these communication partners were scattered across the state or even the country. When distance prohibits face-to-face communication, communicating effectively can be extra challenging. Remedy this challenge with the aid of tech-tools by tele-conferencing or using technology-aided written communication. I feel lucky in this sense as we do not work on a far distance basis. I have an opportunity to see all my staff on weekly basis and discuss any important issues or businesses.
1.4 Strategies for effective managerial communication and listening Interpersonal communication plays an important role not only in our personal life but also in business field since interpersonal communication is the procedure that we can receive information and feeling from someone immediately and then to lead us to express our opinions, feeling, and emotion back. People defined interpersonal communication as having three characteristics. First, communication is from one person to another. Another characteristic is communication which is face-to-face.
Last, both the form and content of the communication reflect the personal characteristic of individuals, their social roles, and relationship. Thus, effective skills in communication are necessary to maintain and increase the quality of our lives and relationships with our family, friends and coworkers. If we cannot communicate effectively, we may have misunderstandings within relationships. Besides, it would be very easy to become confused, frustrated and disappointed simply if we are unable to communicate appropriately with someone.
Likewise, in business management, the process of communication between managers and employees would dramatically affect morale, teamwork, productivity, employee retention, and customer relation, and so on. Therefore, to sustain long term relationship with either employees or customers and to reduce managerial frustration about subordinate error, it is extremely significant for a manager to understand what and how the managerial communication strategies and skills can be applied effectively when interacting with colleagues, employees, and the public as well. There are a lot of communication barriers faced these days by all. The message intended by the sender is not understood by the receiver in the same terms and sense and thus communication breakdown occurs. It is essential to deal and cope up with these communication barriers so as to ensure smooth and effective communication.
As, I have discussed the major barriers of communication I think it’s important to talk about how to overcome these barriers of communication. 1 Eliminating differences in perception: I believe the organization should ensure that it is recruiting right individuals on the job. It’s the responsibility of the interviewer to ensure that the interviewee has command over the written and spoken language. I always thought that working for a small company would give me an opportunity as a care home manager to be involved in recruiting process. Working for LCP gave me this opportunity and I have widely been involved in decision making when employing staff in my care home. We also have a very thorough Induction program for new staff and this helps the policies of the company to be made clear to all the employees in a right manner. We also have a very well scheduled trainings for all staff available to develop their knowledge in care field.
2 Use of Simple Language: Use of simple and clear words should be emphasized. I also promote the use of ambiguous words and jargons to be avoided.
3 Reduction and elimination of noise levels: Noise is the main communication barrier which must be overcome on priority basis. It is essential to identify the source of noise and then eliminate that source.
4 Active Listening: Listen attentively and carefully. There is a difference between “listening” and “hearing”. Active listening means hearing with proper understanding of the message that is heard. By asking questions the speaker can ensure whether his/her message is understood or not by the receiver in the same terms as intended by the speaker.
5 Emotional State: During my communication with staff one I try to make effective use of body language. I pay an extra attention to ensure I don’t show my emotions while communication as the receiver might misinterpret the message being delivered. If I notice that the individual I want to speak seems upset or in a bad mood I would use another time to ensure the effective communication takes place.
6 Simple Organizational Structure: I strongly believe that the organizational structure should not be complex. The number of hierarchical levels should be optimum. There should be a ideal span of control within the organization. I think “Simpler the organizational structure, more effective will be the communication”, I think LCP has done a very good job in this area and that’s why I greatly enjoyed working for them for past 5 years.
7 Avoid Information Overload: I think the managers should know how to prioritize their work. They should not overload themselves with the work. They should spend quality time with their subordinates and should listen to their problems and feedbacks actively. I believe every manager will be successful if they take this into consideration.
8 Give Constructive Feedback: As a manager I always try to avoid giving negative feedback. The contents of the feedback might be negative, but I try my best be delivered constructively. Constructive feedback will lead to effective communication between the superior and subordinate.
9 Proper Media Selection: The managers should properly select the medium of communication. Simple messages should be conveyed orally, like: face to face interaction or meetings. Use of written means of communication should be encouraged for delivering complex messages. For significant messages reminders can be given by using written means of communication such as : Memos, Notices etc.
10 Flexibility in meeting the targets: For effective communication in an organization the managers should ensure that the individuals are meeting their targets timely without skipping the formal channels of communication. There should not be much pressure on employees to meet their targets.
1.5 We communicate with others all the time, wherever we may be, often without even realising it and sometimes without intending to. I think the interpersonal skills enable us to interact with another person, allowing us to communicate successfully with them.
As I have already mentioned the good communication skills are vital for those working in health and social care as they help them to:
develop positive relationships with people using services and their families and friends, so they can understand and meet their needs develop positive relationships with work colleagues and other professionals share information with people using the services, by providing and receiving information report on the work they do with people.
Now I am going to be talking about the different means of communication which I and my staff use day to day basis depending on the situation and also to meet different needs. As we already there’s different ways to communicate. Please see examples below:
1 Formal communication: In our organisation the formal conversation is often used when a professional person, such as a health or social care worker, speaks to someone using a service. It is clear, correct and avoids misunderstanding. Also the formal communication is used during important meetings such as safeguarding meetings, reviews, parental meetings or meetings with managers. Communication with a manager is usually formal. I believe a manager should be usually more distant from those they manage so that if they need to, for example, issue a formal warning to someone, it is less awkward for both parties than if they are friends. I always ensure not to cross the professional boundaries which help me on a day to day basis to carry out my duties as a manager.
2 Informal communication: The informal communication is often used between people who know each other well, like friends and family People usually communicate more informally with friends, including those they work closely with on a day-to-day basis.Informal communication is very important when working with people, but also it can cause crossing the professional boundaries.
I have had lots of experiences in this area and many conflicts have been caused due to this in a care home, as usually staff work with each other on daily basis, this helps them to develop friendly relationship, which then develops further into friendship outside of work place. There can be certain aspects in the health care when friendship can be fatal e.g if there is a case of abuse and friends support each other etc. I am very vigilant as I am aware of consequences, so I use my observation skills to ensure this doesn’t occur.
There are also three main forms of communication, verbal, non-verbal and the written word. We can also use technology to communicate.
1 Verbal communication: Verbal communication uses words to present ideas, thoughts and feelings. Good verbal communication is the ability to both explain and present your ideas clearly through the spoken word, and to listen carefully to other people. This will involve using a variety of approaches and styles appropriate to the audience you are addressing. The managers have to have this skill to be able to carry out their duties effectively.
2 Non-verbal communication-This refers to the messages we send out to express ideas and opinions without talking. This might be through the use of body language, facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice, touch or contact, signs, symbols, pictures, objects and other visual aids. It is very important to be able to recognise what a person’s body language is saying, especially when as a health or social care worker you are dealing with someone who is in pain, worried or upset.
This is a very important aspect in our care care due to most of our residents being non-verbal. We use different forms of communication such as makaton, signs, pictorial tools as well as objects to reference. This helps us to better communicate with those who have limited verbal skills and understand their needs on daily basis.
3 Written communication-This is central to the work of any person providing a service in a health and social care environment when keeping records and in writing reports. Different types of communication need different styles of writing but all require literacy skills. A more formal style of writing is needed when recording information about a client. Our company helps staff to develop their skills in those areas by providing the training, also I as a care home manager I support staff to how to carry out record keeping etc.
4 Technological aids-Technologies is moving so quickly now that we have many electronic aids to help us communicate. For example, mobile phones can be used to make calls but we can also use them to send text messages and emails; and we have computers on which we can record, store and communicate information very quickly and efficiently over long distances.
Learning outcome 2
2.1 Effective communication is such an essential part in a care sector. It is crucial for staff to have a right practice to have in place that will best meet our client’s needs.
I use different practices to help staff and myself to communicate effectively. We have a “handover” system put in place, when AM team members pass the information to a PM shift members. The information they share/pass on has to be very accurate and factual.
The information they share is about the client’s daily living and their well-being. Due to us having 3 teams in the care home and our rota has two shifts a day AM & PM, it’s important for staff to understand the importance how to communicate and pass onto the other teams the relevant information, We also use the communication book where day to day activities are communicated to rest of the teams.
On top of all the communication practices I have mentioned above we also have the staff meetings once a month as well as individual team meetings to ensure the best practice is performed. This is to develop the effective communication amongst all workers which helps to provide the best personal centred needs to all our residents.
Our organisation also has developed the “Quality Assurance Group” the group consists of managers, team leaders or support workers from all of our 5 care homes. The group meets once a month where they discuss the working practices within the organisation and how to improve the services to our service users. This discussion is quite broads and usually consists of following areas of developments: individualised communication needs to clients, independence skills and how to help them to improve their social or daily living skills, training, activities, educational needs etc.
All these meetings help us managers and the whole organisation to identify and monitor the strength and weakness of our current practices and systems, once the weaknesses are identified then we work on improving them with new ideas to ensure the best support and care is provided for those who uses the services.