1.1 Review the range of groups and individuals whose communication needs must be addressed in own job role The purpose of communication is to share important information – as well as relatively trivial conversation – with others. Communication is a two-way process and involves active listening as well as speaking. Non-verbal communication, such as body language, is also vitally important. However, the most effective method of communication will differ in different situations. When dealing with another manager I would tend to use a variety of media such as spoken word, text message and email. When dealing with care workers language needs to be more straightforward with clear instructions given, usually in a similar way (text message, spoken word, email). On the other hand, when dealing with service users and their families politeness is of the utmost importance. Communication would normally be done by telephone or occasionally face to face. When dealing with medical staff, social workers, etc. it would be usual for more technical terminology to be used. This would usually be done by telephone.
1.2 Explain how to support effective communication within own job role Considering interviewing as part of my own job role, clear communication is very important as there is a lot of information which I need to receive as well as to give. It is important to put the interviewee at ease as any such formal meeting can be intimidating. In my role as deputy manager it is important to have good communication skills in order to develop positive relationships. I need to communicate well with service users and their families, as well as with carers and other professionals. I use different forms of communication in my job role such as telephone, text message, email and face to face. Good communication skills are vital in my role as they help to: Develop positive relationships with service users and their families. Develop positive relationships with colleagues and professionals. Share information with relevant people.
Verbal communication is the ability to explain and present your ideas clearly and to listen carefully to other people. Non-verbal communication refers to messages we send out to express ideas and opinions without talking. This might be through the use of body language, facial expressions, gestures, touch, pictures, objects and other visual aids. It is very important to recognise what a person’s body language is saying, especially if you are dealing with someone who is in pain, worried or upset. You can often tell how someone is feeling by their facial expression. A smile shows we are happy and a frown shows we are annoyed. When talking with service users, their families and with professionals formal conversation is used. This needs to be clear and correct to avoid misunderstanding. Informal communication is usually used between people who know each other well, such as friends or those you work closely with on a day-to-day basis.
1.3 Analyse the barriers and challenges to communication within own job role There are many barriers and challenges to communication that I have to deal with from my own personal point of view to ensure I am a successful leader and manager. Not listening effectively is a barrier that could get in the way of my success in my role. I sometimes feel that some of my staff do not listen effectively when I am making certain requests. The best course of action has been to ask them to confirm that they understand. Noise is a constant barrier to communication in the environment where I work. I share an office with other people and telephone conversations can be difficult. I fortunately have the ability to switch off from others and concentrate on my work regardless of what is going on around me. There are many barriers when dealing with service users.
These are: Sensory Loss – When someone has an impairment to one or more of their senses, most commonly a visual or a hearing disability, they may have a problem receiving or passing on information. Foreign Language – When someone speaks a different language or uses sign language, they may not be able to make any sense of information they are being given by someone trying to help them if that person does not speak their language. Distress – When someone is distressed, they might find it hard to communicate. They may not listen properly and not understand what is being said.
They might also be tearful or have difficulty speaking. This can occur if a client has received bad news in relation to their health. Emotional Difficulties – We all have emotional difficulties at times and become upset. The effect can be not to hear or understand what people are saying to you. This can lead to misunderstandings. Health Issues – When someone is feeling ill, they may not be able to communicate as effectively as when they are feeling well. Some long-term illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis also affect an individual’s ability to communicate and I need to be aware of this when working with these people.
1.4 Implement a strategy to overcome communication barriers
Communication difficulties can isolate a person, making them feel cut off, so it is particularly important to overcome these difficulties. Barriers to communication can be minimised in the ways discussed below: Adapting the environment – This can be done in a number of ways such as improving lighting for those with sight impairments and reducing background noise for those with hearing impairments. Understanding language needs and preferences – Service providers need to understand language needs and preferences of the people they are supporting. They may have to re-word messages so that they are in short, clear sentences, and avoid slang, jargon and dialect as much as possible. They should explain details to people who cannot see and encourage them to touch things.
They should not shout at those who cannot hear very well, but use normal, clear speech and make sure their face is visible. Timing – It is important to pick the right time to communicate important information to a service user. E.g. A doctor may have just told a service user bad news about their health. The service user needs time to take the information in. Lip Reading – Lip reading is a technique of interpreting the movement of a person’s lips, face and tongue, along with information provided by any remaining hearing. It is used by someone who is deaf or hard of hearing. It is therefore important that you look directly at someone who is lip reading and stand in a well-lit area when speaking.
2.2 Evaluate the effectiveness of existing communication systems and practices Within my role as Deputy Manager I believe that my communication systems and practices are very effective. I communicate with my Manager, Care Co-ordinators, Care Supervisors, Care Workers, Service Users, Social Workers, District Nurses, Occupational Therapists, GPs etc. on a daily basis. I discuss all cases with my Manager. This could be informally e.g. I speak to him face to face. I communicate with him on the telephone if I need to speak to him urgently and he is not in the office. Formal discussion can take place by email, Team Meetings, or during supervision. Examples of communication would be for the following reasons:
Discuss service users and obtain advice and support.
Discuss complaints which have arisen.
Discuss and receive new referrals.
Discuss any problems as they arise.
I communicate with District Nurse, OT, Social worker, GP etc. This is usually over the telephone or by email. Examples of communication with these professionals would be for the following reasons:
Request manual handling risk assessments for clients.
Request continence assessments (District Nurse).
Request assessment for equipment for the client (District Nurse & OT) E.g. a client is experiencing difficultly managing the stairs or perhaps the client requires a commode to place beside their bed at night-time. Report deterioration in client’s health or report a fall (District Nurse & GP). I communicate with the Hospital Social Worker when a client is admitted to hospital. This communication usually takes place by telephone. I communicate with GPs in relation to a client’s health and report any concerns. This communication can be via telephone or in the form of a letter.
A social worker would contact me if a client was unable to manage at home due to ill-health and perhaps required an increase in their care package or a period of respite care. I communicate with Care Co-ordinators, Care Supervisors and care workers via the telephone, email, text or face to face. Communication from them could be for the following reasons: Reporting that a client has sustained a fall or is unwell.
Reporting that they are unable to gain entry to a client’s house. Report any issues as they arise. E.g. conflicts between themselves and service users. Communication from me to them could be for the following reasons: To suspend calls when service users are admitted to hospital. To restart calls when someone is discharged from hospital.
To inform them of cancelled calls.
3.2 Compare the effectiveness of different communications systems for partnership working
Partnership working aims to:
Promote the delivery of high quality care.
Promote effective communication between the multi-disciplinary team. Promote patient safety.
Involve service users in their care planning.
Effective communication between partners is essential to good partnership working. Without effective communications staff can feel very isolated. Interaction needs to be on-going, and partners needed to be mindful of the need to reduce jargon to promote clarity of understanding. Inclusion of the views of service users and carers are also important to the communication process, as a means of helping staff to look at things in new ways and to bring diversity and creativity to the process. There are many different communication systems which can be used in partnership working.
Computerised systems with shared records and access e.g. hospitals and GPs now share some computerised medical records. This ensures continuity of service with immediate access to records. It avoids the need for paper records which increase the need for secure storage and accurate filing systems. This also allows for faster retrieval of information and an increased frequency with which information is collected and shared. It also ensures a standardized system across the partnership working. For any system used it has to be available, effective and efficient in order to benefit all partners involved.
3.3 Propose improvements to communication systems for partnership working
When I feel there is room for improvement to communication systems for internal partnership working this could be proposed by calling a meeting in my workplace and discussing my proposals or proposals could be made through written communications. By liaising with external partners at regular meetings and discussing, listening and sharing ideas and problems, solutions will be able to be found to any communication improvements which need to be made. Sometimes this may mean reaching compromises or it may just involve alleviating the anxieties of others in the partnership.
4.1 Explain legal and ethical tensions between maintaining confidentiality and sharing information
In order to keep personal records the organisation must be registered with the Data Protection Register 1998. Some of the relevant aspects of the Act are that the information should only be used for the purposes explained when it was collected; that the information should not be disclosed to anyone who has no right to see it; that the information collected should be relevant and contain no more than is necessary for its purpose; that the information should be accurate when collected and where necessary kept up to date; the individuals should have access to the data held about them and appropriate security measures should be taken to prevent unauthorised access to data.
Public Interest Disclosure Act (1999)
This act, sometimes called the ‘whistleblowing act’, is not solely for people working in the caring professions but for any employee in any sector of employment. It has its place in considering other perspectives of confidentiality and relates more to corporate considerations than perhaps individual or personal confidences shared. It allows people at work to raise genuine concerns about crime, negligence, miscarriages of justice, dangers to health and safety and applies whether the information is confidential or not. The act seeks to protect ‘whistleblowers’ from dismissal and victimisation and thus promotes the public interest and potential extra protection for vulnerable people in society. Generally, confidential information can only be disclosed if it is in the individual’s best interests, for the protection of others, in the interest of public health, during an official or legal investigation, or if there has been or there is a risk of a serious crime committed.
Individuals using care services need to feel that their personal information is kept confidential, even from family members. This builds trust between me and the individual. In formal relationships with partners and family members trust is built up over a period of time. In an informal relationship such as in a carer/service user trust is based on the assumption that because the carer is in a professional role, they are governed by laws and legislations, ethics and principles which protect their confidentiality. These laws, ethics and principles give individuals the confidence to give confidential information to others in the knowledge that if that information was to be divulged to another, the professional would face serious consequences.
Sharing information is key to effective communication but this should be balanced alongside the need to maintain a service user’s right to confidentiality. This is often a complex relationship; the service users should be involved in decisions as to whether sensitive information can be shared with the wider network of care providers and staff should reflect and balance whether sharing the information will benefit the client and whether the benefits outweigh the risks of sharing the information. Supervision should be used to support staff in reaching these decisions.
In certain circumstances the managers may be faced with ethical issues regarding the disclosure of confidential information to a third party. Any professional has a ‘duty of care’ which means as previously stated a confidence can only be broken if it is in the individual’s best interests, for the protection of others, in the interest of public health, during an official or legal investigation, or if there has been or there is a risk of a serious crime committed. This can place the individual in a dilemma between the law and their professional and personal ethics.
4.2 Analyse the essential features of information sharing agreements within and between organisations
Certain information will need to be shared within our own workplace and also between ours and other organisations. As discussed in the last outcome information can only be disclosed if it is in the individual’s best interests, for the protection of others, in the interest of public health, during an official or legal investigation, or if there has been or there is a risk of a serious crime committed. Information should only ever be shared on a need to know basis. For example, if a service user had a fall, I may need to pass on details of the individual’s medication to the paramedics, as this would be in the ‘individual’s best interest’ but you would not need to pass them details regarding the individual’s financial affairs as this is not relevant and the paramedics do not have a ‘need to know’.
Other examples could include an outbreak of an infectious disease in your workplace, which by law this has to be reported (RIDDOR). I should also consider my workplace ‘whistleblowing’ policy which allows people at work to raise concerns and report areas such as negligence, dangers to health and safety or crimes whilst being protected from dismissal or victimisation. My workplace has policies and procedures in place for the sharing of information with others, which in order to analyse my workplace agreements regarding the sharing of information I will need to look at the circumstances that I am allowed to divulge information, and who to and analyse why this is acceptable in certain circumstances.