Introduction to Сommunication in Health and Social Care

Identify different reasons why people communicate

People communicate for different reasons. To portray their feelings, opinions, emotions, pain. To express needs, share ideas and information People can communicate verbally by talking or writing. Or even by body language / sign language. Communications can be used to bring out changes in attitudes, motivate people and to create and maintain relationships. Communication is vital for providing and seeking information, and it is also crucial for developing positive relationships with people. Communication is important to understand and be understood

Explain how affective communication affects all aspects of own work

Effective communication is important as it ensures that information is clear, accurate, non-judgemental and informative. This helps to reduce the possibility of mistakes being made. It ensures appropriate care service delivery. It is important to communicate with your colleagues, so that all targets and outcomes are met.
Effective communication is important so that yourself and the service user fully understand eachother. This includes using words, feedback, action, body language and gestures. With effective communication service users and family will enjoy the services provided.

Explain why it is important to observe an individual reactions when communicating with them

All communication has an effect on the person that you are communicating with. Interactions a two way process, it is important to watch the effects so that any problems can be identified and dealt with. In order to be effective in care and supporting service users you have to be a good communicator whether this is through speaking, body language, facial expressions or gestures.
Sometimes you are able to communicate with others without having to use words. When communicating face to face the other person may not always indicate verbally that they understand, or if they agree. Observing body language is very important as it helps the speaker understand if the other person agrees or understands etc.

Find out an individual’s communication and language needs, wishes and preferences

Effective communication happens when the right method is used to send a message so it can be received and understood. Care workers need to know about a range of communication methods. They should also be skilled at identifying the communication and language needs, wishes and preferences of the people with whom they work and interact. Service users can be people from a diverse range of backgrounds who will want to communicate in different ways. Finding out about each individual’s language needs, wishes and preferences is an important part of your role.
You can do this by:

Asking people whether they or their relatives have particular language or communication needs.
Referring to the Service users Care Plan
Reading reports and notes about service users that provide information on speech and language issues, learning difficulties, disabilities e.g. (hearing or visual impairment) or physical conditions (e.g. stroke, cleft palate) that may affect their ability to communicate.
Being aware that an individual’s culture, ethnicity and  nationality may affect their language preferences and needs.
Observing the people who use your setting to see how they use their communication and language skills.
Asking your supervisor/mentor, senior staff and specialist professionals such as speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and social workers for information, advice and support about how best to communicate with adults who have special communication needs.

Show how and when to seek advice about communication.

There may be situations in which you feel unsure about how you should communicate with a service user or another person in your work setting. In some situations you will be aware that you are struggling to communicate effectively with somebody. In situations like these, you should seek advice and obtain support.
You can do this by: talking to your supervisor, mentor or line manager about the difficulty, You can ask for their advice about how to deal with the problem, You can also speak with the communication or language support specialists (teachers, psychologists or speech and language therapists). Your goal is always to ensure that the messages you send can be received and understood. To achieve this you may sometimes need to change or adapt the form of communication that meets each individual’s needs, wishes and preferences.
Identify barriers to communication
To identify the barriers to communication, the sender and receiver of the message need to consider several factors.
Sensory Deprivation
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.
When a service provider uses technical language the service user may not understand. For example – The doctor may say that a patient needs bloods or an MRI scan. That can sound very frightening to someone who has been rushed into hospital. It is better if the doctor explains that they need to take some blood to do dome simple tests and then explains what an MRI scan is. Understanding the facts can make something seem less scary.
When a service user uses language that not everyone uses, such as saying they have a problem with their waterworks. This can mean their plumbing system. But also means a problem going to the toilet. Sometimes it may be appropriate to use slang with your peers, but whilst working with colleagues or service users you should avoid using any language that can be misunderstood, misinterpreted or may cause offence.
Emotional difficulties
We all have emotional difficulties at times and become upset, you might of split up with your boyfriend / girlfriend or had an argument, or you could have had some bad news. The effect can be not to hear or understand what people are saying to you. This can lead to misunderstandings.
Health Issues
When you are feeling unwell, you may not be able to communicate as effectively as when you are feeling well. This can affect your colleagues and service users. Similarly, people who are being cared for in hospital because of an illness may not be able to communicate in their normal way. Some long term ‘chronic’ illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis also affect an individual’s ability to communicate and you need to be aware of this if you are working with these people.
Environmental problems
When communication is affected by the environment that people find themselves in. For example – Someone who does not see very well will struggle to read written information in a dimly lit room. A person who is in a wheelchair may find it impossible to communicate with the receptionist at the dentist if the desk is too high and above the wheelchair users head.
Identify sources of information and support or services to enable more effective communication

Translation services

This service can help with changing the written text from language to another.

Interpreting services

This service can help with converting spoken language to another language.

Speech and language services

Support people who have had a stroke and have problems with their speech.

Advocacy services

This service can support people who are unable to speak up for themselves. This service trys to understand the needs, wishes and preferences of people, and will argue on their behalf.
Sometimes you will need to find specialist advice because a person’s communication needs are too complex for you to deal with alone. Someone who has an illness that affects their ability to produce sounds or control their neck and facial muscles may need to speak using a piece of assistive technology. For these type of issues, you will need the advice of a speech and language therapist who is an expert and will be able to advise on and kind of specialised communication needs.

Explain the term confidentiality

Confidentiality means not sharing information about individuals without their knowledge and agreement and ensuring that written and electronic information cannot be accessed or read by people who have no reason to see it. Confidentiality is important because: People may not trust a support worker who does not keep information confidential People may not feel valued or able to keep their self esteem if their private details are shared with others Peoples safety may be put at risk if details of their property and habits are shared publicly
A professional service that maintains respect for individuals must keep private information confidential. There are legal requirements under the data protection act 1998 to keep professional requirements laid down by the regulators that make it the duty of professionals to keep information confidential.

Describe situations where information normally considered to be confidential might need to be passed on.

Sometimes confidential information disclosed by a service user may need to be passed on to others if there is a risk of danger or harm to the service user or other people, if abuse is suspected, or if there is suspected misconduct of a colleague, in respect of care of a service user (whistle blowing) You must inform the service user why the information needs to be passed on to others, and that it is your responsibility to do so.

Explain how and when to seek advice about confidentiality

It is very important as a care worker that you understand when to seek advice about confidentiality. Confidentiality is essential in care work to improve trust and working relationships between the service users and their carers. Certain information is however shared amongst teams if it is needed to effectively support service users and others involved in their care. Take for example when there is a prospect of danger or harm to the service user, staff or members of the public.
Additionally if abuse is suspected within the home or seen anywhere or if there is a misconduct of a staff. It is the responsibility to the supervisors or the appropriate bodies to take appropriate actions. In most cases organisations have whistle blowing policies to guide and protect staff from victimisation after blowing the whistle and also to guide them on how to break confidentiality.

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