Promote communication in health, social care or children’s and young people’s settings (SHC 31)
Be able to understand why effective communication is important in the work setting.
Identify the different reasons people communicate.
There are many different reasons why people communicate such as:
To express needs.
To share ideas and information.
How communication affects relationships in the work setting.
Communication can define the difference between good and poor service within an adult social care setting. Good communication with service users means that they can gain trust with the provider and care workers therefore they can encourage independence and ease when communicating their needs for example once a good relationship has been built they will know client’s preferences, whether they like a strip wash, baths or showers etc. Good communication amongst staff encourages a better working relationship and ensures all tasks are completed to a high standard and ensures that all problems are picked up and sorted quickly. Good communication amongst staff and service users ensures that service users receive a high-quality service. Bad communication can lead to a poor service for example, if the office does not inform care workers of rota changes, this could lead to missed visits and clients having two care workers when only one is required.
Be able to meet the communication and language needs, wishes and preferences of individuals.
The factors to consider when promoting effective communication.
When communicating with an adult it is different than communicating with a child, the language you use will be more complex and the sentences will flow a bit faster.
Good eye to eye contact and facial expressions are important to help you communicate; this enhances emotions and feelings making it more personal. Eye to eye contact may also leave the person feeling more positive about the interaction you have had.
Adults also need to feel valued, so good listening skills are key to effective communication and allowing the other person time to answer before you start talking again, trying to guess what the other person is trying to say may make them irritated and have a negative effect on the communication.
Effective communication is not just achieved by verbally expressing yourself, it can also be through text message by using picture messages in the conversation to set the mood and make it clearer what you are trying to say. For example, if you were being sarcastic, the tone in your voice may change whereas over text, a picture message would make it clearer.
Body language plays an important part, for example folded arms can indicate you are being defensive and are not open to suggestions, whereas slouching, hands on hips, rolling of eyes and huffing can seem rude and disrespectful.
Touching is a very important part of communication. Lightly touching a person’s hand can show your concern and affection for them. It is important that the client gives permission for you to touch them and not to enter their personal space as this may make them feel uncomfortable and make them withdraw from communication.
Gestures are a large part of communication as we wave to greet someone and use our hands when arguing or speaking energetically. We express ourselves with gestures on a day to day basis however they are normally without thinking. It is important to alter our gestures with different circumstances, so it helps to set the tone of the conversation.
Personal space during communicating differs depending on the situation and the closeness of the relationship. You can use physical space to communicate many different nonverbal messages, including signals of intimacy and affection or aggression and dominance.
A range of communication methods and styles to meet individual needs.
When communicating with different individuals you will need to adapt your approach. When speaking to an elderly client you may need to rise you voice but ensure you are not doing it in an aggressive way, so that you still have a calm tone but are speaking louder so that they can hear you. If you do not ensure you have a soft tone, the client may feel like you are angry at them and may decline help and communication with you.
If a client is not mobile, it nice for the individual for you to go down to level that they are sitting whether that it a chair or bed, this makes them feel equal and not that you are overpowering them. In domiciliary care work this is especially important are we are entering individual’s homes.
Depending on the relationship, the way you speak, or contact may be formal or informal. If it is a service user than you have just met, you would adjust the way you speak to them. Some individuals are very affectionate and may want a cuddle or kiss on the cheek whereas some other clients may be the opposite and formal wanting no affectionate contact.
How to respond to an individual’s reactions when communicating.
A response during communication is needed for the communication to take place. If someone is talking to you and you are not responding, it is difficult for communication to take place. When you respond to someone it shows that you are listening to them, which then shows that you understand are interesting in what they are saying and that you are interpreting it correctly. A response does not need to be verbal, it could be a simple nod or a facial expression to show that you are listening and acknowledge what they have said. If both participants are aware of each other and understand, it will be successful communication.
Be able to overcome barriers to communication.
How people from different backgrounds may use and/or interpret communication methods in different ways.
The words we use and how we use them is influenced by where you grew up, where you live now and your culture. Each of these will influence how you interpret things, for example Italian’s use a lot of hand gestures when discussing something to get the point across or to emphasise something. Family members and close friends have a large influence on how we communicate. They have thought you how to communicate, they have also shared their experiences and knowledge. Within a family it does not always need to be verbal communication, a subtle look or gesture can put a message across as you are familiar with each other. Many families do find it acceptable to use swear words as part of everyday expression, yet the wider community might find this quite offensive however when out in public, some people may not find this acceptable because of their culture. The kind of person you are or the kind of family you come from can also influence the way in which you communicate. A child brought up in a noisy, busy background will probably have the confidence to talk to new people or try new ways of communicating, as will people who are confident. Quieter people and those lacking confidence may appear more withdrawn or reluctant to attempt new ways of communicating. Past experiences can also have a great effect. If you grew up in a house where people didn’t read or use the telephone you may shy away from these forms of communication because they are unfamiliar to you. Our ethnic origins may also influence how we use and interpret different communication methods. In some cultures, communication was or still is predominantly verbal rather than written. Some cultures interpret the tone of your voice, differently raised voices could mean an argument to some people, but to others it could mean an exciting conversation. Yet even within cultures there are subtle differences. Just because one group from a background does something it does not necessarily mean everybody from that country will do it and vice versa. You may find that in different parts of a country, they have different accents and with these they may speak at a higher tone for example Liverpudlians. When learning a new language, you may find it easier to learn one aspect of communication such as written rather than verbal due to accents. In individual’s age may also influence the use of different types of communication, generally the older generation prefer to communicate through telephones and written words. This may be because they do not adapt to change or may find today’s communication technology confusing and overwhelming. Whereas younger generations have adapted a new language so that communication through text is quicker and easier for example shortening words like thankyou to thnx.
The way that we communicate is influenced by an individual’s experiences, knowledge and understanding.
Identify barriers to effective communication
Sensory deprivation – When someone cannot pass on or receive information because they have an impairment for one or more senses. The most common impairments are for visual or a hearing disability.
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.
Argon – when a professional or care worker uses technical language that the client might not understand. For example, a doctor telling a patient that they need bloods and an MRI scan. That can sound very frightening to someone who has been rushed into hospital. It would be easier and less confusing for the client to explain that they need to take some blood and do some simple tests. This would be easier than explaining what an MRI scan is or why they need to take blood.
Culture differences – when the same thing means different things in two cultures, communication can be difficult. For example, it is seen as polite and respectful to make eye contact when speaking to someone in Western culture but in other cultures, for example in East Asia, it could be seen as rude and defiant. For certain cultures woman have their faces covered this could also be a barrier because if they communicate the other individual may not be able to hear them especially if they have a hearing impairment.
Distressed and emotional – If someone is distressed or emotional, they may find it hard to communicate especially if they are tearful, this may be because they are focussing on what has upset them.
How to overcome barriers to communication.
Understand that other people see and understand things differently to you, for example if you try to predict the feelings and attitude of the receiver you may misinterpret what they are thinking. You could monitor their expression and reaction to see whether it is positive or negative.
Ask for feedback from the receiver. Don’t just ask if they understand because their answer will often be yes because they see things in their own way and how they want to understand it.
Try to speak face-to-face as often as possible as this means you can ask questions and monitor the other individuals body language and facial expressions, these will show how they feel about the topic. When communicating over the phone or through email you can sometimes misinterpret what is being said.
If you use language that fits the individuals communicating it will reduce confusion. They won’t be listening to what you are saying because they will be trying to understand what you have already said.
Using the right communication method. E-mails are easy if an individual is unavailable to talk face-to-face or over the phone, however it is better to communicate face to face or over the phone to get your message across.
Be aware that with every type of communication there are barriers and that it needs to be clear when talking. Any facial expressions or body language can be misled so your message may be misinterpreted. By following the above communication methods, you may reduce the risks of it being misinterpreted.
Strategies that can be used to clarify misunderstandings.
If something has been miss-understood, try to explain yourself again calmly. If need be asking someone to mediate so that there is a second opinion.
How to access extra support or services to enable individuals to communicate effectively.
If you needed any extra support to communicate there are a number of services, you can use.
If it is a language barrier, you could look into changing the regular care worker to someone that knows the specific language. If this isn’t possible then you could use a translation service for any written text or an interpreter for any oral communication.
If the client does not have the capacity to answer questions about their care plan or for finances, you could use an advocacy service. An advocate could be a family member, a close friend or there are companies where you pay for an advocacy service. An advocate can represent their views, wishes and feelings.
You could also use a speech and language services for example the SLT (Speech and language therapists) at their local hospital. These therapists will help with the following specialities:
Adult acute (e.g. stroke, medical, surgical, major trauma).
Head and neck cancer.
Ear, nose and throat.
Be able to apply principles and practices relating to confidentiality.
The meaning of the term confidentiality.
Confidentiality means not sharing information about people without their knowledge or permission. You can maintain confidentiality by ensuring that written and electronic information cannot be accessed by unauthorised people. Confidentiality is important because clients may not trust a care worker who does not keep information private, this could make them feel unvalued and have low self-esteem. Clients safety may be put at risk if their personal details are shared.
Ways to maintain confidentiality in day to day communication.
You can maintain confidentiality on a day to day basis by putting all paper-based information in a locked cabinet. To ensure that you have a second copy of all paperwork, save it on a computer in multiple locations that are locked by password. If you are sending out emails etc, to keep it confidential you can use initials rather than a full name. You could also send the email to selective care workers that the subject involves.
If you are discussing a client, ensure that there is no one listening if it does not affect them. When leaving a care call, ensure that the care plan folder is closed so that if the client has any visitors to ensure that they cannot see personal information like bowel movements.
Describe the potential tension between maintaining an individual’s confidentiality and disclosing concerns
As a carer, you should ensure you have permission to share any sensitive information you may have been told, however if you feel that it is important to share to a senior member of staff then you would have to explain this too them. There are some circumstances where you may not need authorisation, for example if you needed to pass on some information so that other care workers can give the best care possible, domiciliary care workers would either do this through the office so that they could tell the next care workers or by documenting it on the communication sheets or daily report sheets. By doing it this way, it is confidential to any outside visitors into the property as it is in a closed booked that only professional people look at, like doctors, nurses and care workers etc. If the service user shares information that shows their safety could be in danger, then it would be your duty to tell your care manager so that they could start an investigation.
How and when to seek advice about confidentiality.
It is best to treat everything you learn about your service user and their families as confidential information. You should always check with your supervisor before passing on any confidential information and always tell your supervisor if you receive any information that concerns you.
If you need any further information or advice about confidentiality, then you could ask your office to see their confidentiality policy and procedure. You could search the internet for the definition of confidentiality. However you could also phone Care Quality Commissions, citizens advice, carers UK or age UK.