Introduction to Communication in Health and Social Care

SHC 21: Introduction to communication in health, social care or children’s and young people’s settings 1. Understand why communication is important in the work setting 1. 1 People communicate by many ways including non-verbal highlighting facial expression, eye contact, body language, physical gestures such as touch, dress and behavior, along with verbal including tone and pitch of voice. The age and knowledge of a person one is communicating with, also dictates somewhat the amount of vocabulary i. words and terms used too . People communicate to share ideas, information, educate, build relationships, express feelings and emotions, to be social, ask questions and expand their knowledge and share different experiences. 1. 2 Effective communication affects all aspects of work. Talking to a child, parent, work colleague, friend or boss, takes on a variety of different levels of communication. Maybe more smiles are given when talking to a child rather than to a boss figure.

Also read: How and When to Seek Advice About Communication
Introduction to Communication in Health and Social Care

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Reading someone’s expression can tell you a lot about the mood the person is in. Avoiding eye contact, can also indicate that the person feels uneasy. If someone is angry, they may need time to calm down, acknowledging peoples actions and reactions can help lift or diffuse a situation. It is not advisable to continue to verbally talk to someone from a different country who does not understand you, maybe you can seek the help of a translator to help communicate or use picture cards. If someone has limited hearing and sight, nsure you’re not in a dimly lit room and use visual aids in bigger print to help the person understand what your communicating to them. Being able to recognize the ways in people communicate even without words is important to understand and be aware of. 2. Be able to meet the communication and language needs, wishes and preferences of the individuals 2. 1. To find out an individual’s communication and language needs, wishes and preferences there are many ways to find out this information, it could be from the individual themselves, from a parent, teacher, friend of the individual or their carer.

There may be care notes, medical notes or documents from authorities which you can access to obtain this information if no rules of confidentiality are broken, so you can see how they’re being managed, ways of communicating that helps and any progresses that have been made. Some preferences may also be based on the individuals beliefs, values or culture. It is important not to judge people for they may resist communication for fear of being judged or reprimanded. Offer reassurance about confidentiality and explain what this means. Also make sure the setting is fit for purpose, privacy is important.

The individual and care worker should not hold a personal and private discussion in a room full of people, whereby the conversation could be overheard. 2. 2 Demonstrate communication methods that meet the individuals needs wishes and preferences could include using a louder pitch in voice when talking to someone who has hard of hearing and ensuring there is no background distractive noise. If someone has difficulty reading, audio books can help. If an individual has dyslexia, then reading the information out loud to them, can help them better understand .

A child having difficulty in remembering, may find a tape or video recorder a great assistive technology aid. A wheelchair user can talk to people at eye level if the unaided person sits down on a chair making both feel more comfortable when having a conversation and if a person cannot communicate properly via a disability, flash/need cards can be designed, allowing the person to choose which card they would like, ie TV, cup of tea, book, food or toilet. In the case of a foreign language being spoken, the help of a translator or interpretation service can assist. 2. You can show how and when to seek advice about communication if you feel unsure about something, maybe a physical incident may have taken place which worried you, maybe something was thrown at you. Sometimes complex cases need extra assistance and help can be sought by talking to your peers, line managers, the individuals carer. A line manager or supervisor can help advise on specialist organisations who offer expert advice and services, as it is best not to think or second guess that you can manage the situation by yourself especially if you do not have the necessary skill set to deal with certain communication problems.

Professional duty to ensure individuals receive the very best care and support is essential to provide the best service you can for them. 3. Be able to reduce barriers to communicate 3. 1 There are many barriers to communicate both visible and invisible. One of the most common starts with oneself. One must make sure that the language used is one that the individual can understand. It is no use talking to someone about abbreviations, slang or acronyms when shortcutting talk, is not commonly used by the person you’re speaking to, ie they’re not in the circle/workplace which those shortcuts/terms are commonly used.

Individuals may not clearly understand what you are saying to them if those terms are used. If someone is hard of hearing then calling them on a telephone would not be recommended unless they had specialist equipment dedicated to improve the quality of the call so they could hear you properly. If someone comes from a different country, then language can present barriers too. Other barriers could include: emotional distress, health issues, cultural differences and environmental problems 3. 2 Demonstrate how to reduce barriers to communication in different ways.

One of the most important factors would include making the other person feel at ease and comfortable with you. They should feel happy and safe in your company. Use friendly facial expressions, be encouraging and actively listen and acknowledge what they’re saying to you. Speak clearly and not too fast. Remove any distractions such as background noise and make sure any hearing aids an individual has, is working correctly. Use non-verbal methods to communicate interest, sympathy or understanding.

Repeat things when necessary and make sure the physical environment is ideally suited to the individual especially if they have a physical disability, where being confined to a wheelchair makes it impossible to meet you on the 1st floor if there is no lift in the building. 3. 3 The ways to check that communication has been understood could include a recap of the conversation so that the messages discussed are re-confirmed and agreed by both parties. If communication has not been understood then going over what was said is essential and maybe in a different way to ensure agreement and understanding is reached.

Summaries , clarity and agreements between both parties should ensure effective communication has been understood. 3. 4 Identifying sources of information and support or services to enable more effective communication can be sourced from a variety of organisations and experts. For example someone who is blind or going blind, may benefit from learning about the national charity, RNIB Royal National Institute of Blind People. A telephone number can be offered to the individual so they can make contact with the charity. Someone who is experiencing hearing loss, could contact Action on Hearing Loss and learn lip leading.

Elderly could make contact with Age UK. The internet is a great source of information along with local library, community centers and workplace. Condition specific organisations including Cystic Fibrosis, Cancer Research and the Stoke Association allow people to access their services for further information and understanding. Translator (changing written text into another language ) or interpretation services ( converting spoken language into another) can also assist along with advocacy services for people who find it difficult to speak up for themselves, including GOV.

UK website, Action for Advocacy website,The Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) and Diabetes UK advocacy service 4 Be able to apply principles and practices relating to confidentiality at work 4. 1 The term confidentiality means a set of rules or a promise that limits access to, or places restrictions upon, certain types of information. One cannot discuss a person’s private conversation, make comment about them to another person or pass over their documents to someone whom has no immediate need for this information. You cannot divulge their details to other people without their consent first. . 2 Confidentially can be demonstrated in day to day communication in line with agreed ways of working by the following: • If a medical emergency takes place, the paramedics, doctors may need access to the patients medical history notes. • If someone moves care homes, then the new home would need the individuals private papers from the previous home • If someone was critically ill, information about their health would be passed to their next of kin • Organisations have their own policies and procedures showing circumstances in which information can be disclosed.

These can usually be located within the HR Dept. 4. 3 Information might need to be passed on in the following circumstances : • Court hearing • Hearing, learning about or seeing abuse of children or elderly adults • Community protection and public health (Alerting the authorities if you’re aware and know about a potential outbreak of a virus/disease) • Suicide attempt, by contacting a relevant body ie Police • Risk to the individual or risk at others nearby the individual 4. One may need to seek advice about confidentiality and if it should be maintained, if one is uncertain about the next steps, has concerns or been informed of something by the individual including that they are fearful of a situation, by talking it through with the manager, they can offer advice and expert information in how to deal with certain circumstances. Also by referring to the companies policy and procedural guidelines, which would cover: data protection act, code of practice, freedom of information act, general right of access and whistle blowing.

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