Communication barriers are anything which prevents messages between individuals from being received or understood, being able to identify the barriers can help a care worker to take measures to eliminate or at least minimize the impacts. Language barriers can be perhaps the most obvious impediment to help successful communication, with two individuals not being able to speak the same language then it can be very difficult for communication. However, within the UK the English language is the primary language, there are also minority languages that are commonly used e.
g. Welsh and Polish.
Both dialects and accents are also barriers for communication with some people having difficulty understanding the English geographic twang. Similarly the use of technical jargon or slang which is not familiar to an individual which may have difficulty understanding what a care worker means. With some individuals that may not have an understanding with complex sentences which contain large numbers of keywords. The individuals cognition could also be slower, with some of them may not be able to process information if somebody speaking too fast or is unable for them to give enough time for them to sink it in.
Additionally, with some people may not being able to communicate with sign language, the Makaton or other communication methods which rely on gestures. Essentially, the care worker should always do their best to ensure that the location is as comfortable as possible and that they meet the needs for the individual’s environmental barriers which could make communication difficult.
If the individual does not feel comfortable within their environment, they will be less likely to be open and want to communicate.
This could include factors such as: Temperature (is it too hot or too cold?) Lighting (is it too dark or too bright?) Seating (is it comfortable or uncomfortable? will you have to stand?) Noise (are there too many external noises or are they too loud?) Time (are you or the individual(s) pressed for time? Space (do you each have your own personal space? are you close enough to hear one another?
Distractions (is the TV on? are there other people chatting in earshot?) Emotional and psychological barriers to communication are when the subject matter becomes taboo or sensitive to an individual. Which could also include the subjects such as sex, religion, politics etc. Or also the individual can go into a heightened state of emotion such as anger. With the differences in perspective, the viewpoint or opinion can also become a blocking point in communication – with them becoming very difficult for somebody with deeply-ingrained beliefs to see things differently.
Cultural barriers are another factor within communication and can easily prevent effective communication especially within individuals with cultural traditions and upbringing affects the way individuals think and behave. For example, within some cultures eye contact can be considered impolite whilst within others not making eye contact can be considered rude.Communicating non-verbally, can lead to physical barriers which can prevent visual aids from being seen.
For example, if an individual has to rely on lip reading to help receive messages and not being able to see an individual’s face they wouldn’t be able to understand the care worker – in fact, they probably may not even realise that the care worker is speaking. With lack of poor communication skills, for example the individual not being able to read communication via written media would be impossible for them leading to major stumbling blocks in communication and other methods of communication will have to be implemented for efficiency (e.g. grail or text-to-speech).
Finally, the individual with a lack of interest in what the care worker is saying or is unable to withhold their attention for length of time, communication becomes very difficult. For example, if an individual which has no understanding with their finances may not have any interest for the care worker in supporting them to pay their gas bill.
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