Ao1 Health and Social Care - Methods of Communication [Unfinished]
In this assignment I will be talking about the different types of communication that are used in care settings with factors that support and inhibit them. Communication is very important as it means sharing, giving and retaining information, and without daily interactions with other people, either orally or verbally, it would be extremely hard to get information that may be needed. In care settings, communication is vital to help with patients and clients. Communication is important in health and social care is it helps to build a relationship between the client/ service user and carer. There are four types of communication used in care settings, and these are; oral, written, computerised and special methods.
Oral communication is the process by which information is given verbally from one person or group of people to another. This includes consultations between a Doctor and a patient within the Doctors surgery. Oral communication can either be informal or formal. The purpose of oral communication is to build a relationship with the service user, therefore building up their self-esteem and making them more confident with talking to the practitioner. Also providing empathy when needed helps to support the service user and therefore gain more trust, that the practitioner will not tell anyone what they have just said and discussed, and that they will keep all their information confidential so no one can access it. It is also used to develop mutual understanding between the service user and the practitioner, and to exchange information quickly without delays.
Parents and teachers use oral communication when picking up their children from school, very often a parent will have a quick chat to their child’s teacher about their progress and if they have behaved. This is easier than communicating to the teacher via telephone or computer as there is a quick response and does not cost any money. Another example of the use of verbal communication is that parents are called into schools for parents evening in which a more in depth conversation about their child can occur. This is the most effective way to give feedback about the child because the parent can have time to ask and answer questions and it is a quick transfer, instead of sitting at a computer and trying to type emails to every parent and can become very tiring and repetitive. Parents therefore feel more supported and valued because the teacher has taking time out of their evening to provide feedback about their child, and they feel that the teacher is interested in the child’s development and well-being therefore forming more of a relationship.
There are many factors that support and inhibit oral communication.
The supporting factors of oral communication is that during a conversation with a service user, it is possible to use everyday words to explain and describe complicated information, jargon or specialist language is not needed, as it is not guaranteed that the service user will be able to understand. The environment can be a supporting factor, as if it is a quite, closed off room in which it is not possible for anyone else to listen in then it is more likely that the service user will open up and build confidence and trust. Another supporting factor information can be exchanged very quickly, even if it is through the use of a telephone, this is because you get a direct response and you do not have to what around for a service user or practitioner to reply to an e-mail. And finally, you are certain that of the service users’ identity, over the phone or via email, you are unsure of the person’s identity because you cannot see them. But if they are sat right in front of you, you are sure that you are speaking to the correct person.
Factors that inhibit oral communication include the way in which both the practitioner and service user are positioned. If there is a table between them then there is a clear barrier, and the service user may feel that the practitioner may not want to be too close the service user, therefore lowering their self-esteem and confidence, and may be less likely to talk openly. Also if the practitioner is not facing the service user, then they may feel as if they are not being listened to and they are uninterested in what they have to say. Also, if a service user is deaf, and the practitioner cannot use sign language and is not facing the service user while talking, then they have no chance in understanding what is being said to them as they will be unable to lip-read.
Written communication refers to writing information down. Possibly into an e-mail, or in a letter, maybe just notes about a consultation or noted as reminders for other members of staff. Written communication is used to exchange information, and it is possible to provide detailed and technical information such as care plans and policies. It enables you to record what has happened over a long period of time and provides evidence – for example, medical records to use as evidence in court cases. It also builds relationships between people.
An example of written communication would be the exchange of letters, so writing maybe to a service user or a family member providing information they may need or maybe about an appointment or about an operation that needs to be had. This makes people feel valued and supported as their practitioner has made the effort to remind them about important events. Primary schools use mainly written communication, information about the child or what work needs to be done is written into a diary, or letter and forms are brought home or sent home from the school. These letters could be about an upcoming trip, or about a detention, but either way it is using written communication as they are not directly speaking to the parent.
Supporting factors for written communication is that it ensures that information that has been recorded is permanent and I on file. Also, ensuring that consultations are accurately recorded with great detail means that the service user does not have to repeat themselves over and over again, and it also means that they won’t have to repeat themselves to other practitioners, as it will all be on file. Written communication also ensures that the full history of a service user is available when it is needed, and is not just down to someone’s memory.
Factors that may inhibit written communication include that fact that information that is being written down may have been misinterpreted or not heard correctly, therefore the information will not be entirely accurate or clear. If the information is unclear, then it may be open to interpretation and this means that the emotion of the reader at the time they may take the information differently. Also, if shorthand is used, it may not be understandable to all staff, and then they will have to get help to understand. And if jargon or specialist language is heavily used, then some staff may not understand. Using small text may make it hard for those who suffer with sight impediments to see the writing. Finally, it is possibly to lose the bit of paper that notes or information has been written on, in which case it would need to be written again, which may mean that it is necessary to call the service user.
Computerised communications is when information is exchanged between one person or a group of people electronically. So an example of computerised communication would be the use of email. Through the use of email, you can exchange detailed and technical information really quickly, and is cheap as well. Passwords can be put on pretty much everything, certain files, or even the ensure computer to ensure everyone’s’ personal information cannot be accessed by anyone else, therefore maintaining confidentiality.
An example of computerised communication is when a doctor fills out a prescription on their computer, which will be spell checked and will make sure that the correct medication is on there. This will then be printed off and given to the patient to take to the pharmacy to receive their medication. This makes the patient feel valued and supported because the doctor has made sure that the medication and dosage is correct, which means the patient has been listened to and is being helped. Also, by using a computer ensures that the pharmacist will be able to read what medication has been put on there, and get it right, whereas if it were to be hand written, the pharmacist may not be able to read it clearly and give the patient the wrong medication.
Factors supporting computerised communication include the fact that emails can be sent to different members of staff at whatever time, because it does not matter whether you send it early in the morning, the receiver will still get the message. Also, X-rays for example can be sent to other professionals very easily and quickly, providing an easy way to have help speed up a diagnosis. Another advantage of using computerised communication is that all the information about a patient/client can be accessed immediately during a consultation or appointment which is a lot simpler than going to a locked cabinet, searching through all the files, and finding the right one. Using a computer reduces the amount of time spent on retrieving the information, saving more time in consultations. Finally, information saved on a computer is less likely to be lost or misplaced than a hard copy, especially if all files have been backed up, so even if the system has an issue, the files will all be there.
But there are factors that inhibit computerised communication. For example, if a doctor were to send an email to an elderly person who has little knowledge or confidence of how to use a computer, they may never see the email. So, not everybody is happy or confident with using technology, therefore changes may need to be made to help their communication. Also, sometimes an e-mail may not go where it is sent to, meaning that the receiver may never actually receive the email, therefore may not be reliable. Using computers to type up notes is also unreliable, because the computers could all suddenly turn off, or get a virus, and then files will not be accessible for use.
Special methods are ways of communicating with people who may not necessarily be able to hear or speak back. For example, British sign language can be used for those who are deaf; Makaton can be used for people who are suffering with learning difficulties. Makaton uses speech, gestures and symbols to help people understand. Braille is also a special method of communication, as it enables people who are blind to be able to know where they are going or what something says.
‘Mr Tumble’ is an actor on ‘Cbeebies’ who made a show called ‘Something Special’ which is closely targeted to children living with learning disabilities. He uses Makaton during the show alongside a lot of the dialogue, this way all the children watching can understand what’s happening, and those who do not know Makaton can learn it. This makes the children watching feel valued and supported because the actor has made sure that the audience is able to understand the show and enjoy it.
Factors that support special methods of communication include the fact that using these different types of communication builds people’s self-esteem and allows them to feel accepted therefore leading them to openly express themselves and feel valued and supported. This is because they have an increased understanding of what is being said to them, because they are being communicated with using their language. Also it allows practitioners top act as an interpreter, so that the service user can also have their say.
Factors that inhibit special methods of communication are that very few people are skilled in these methods. Not very many people are taught how to do these skills, and it would be very hard for service users to communicate to a practitioner if they cannot use these special methods. Also, if practitioners present these skills in the wrong way, then service users may feel patronised.