Developing Effective Communication in Health and Social Care
BTEC Level 3 Health and Social Care
Unit 1: Developing Effective Communication in Health and Social Care
Communication is essentially about the way we send and receive messages; for effective communication to take place there must be mutual understanding. Communication is a skill that we learn very early in life as a way of getting our basic needs met. (Rasheed et al (2010)
E.g. I communicate with my family especially with my brothers and sister on a daily basis to identify how they feel, what they would like to do after school or to eat and a lot of the times I communicate with them just to let them know I am there for them if they need anything at all. So Communication can make a work place a better place to be and make the employees comfortable.
There are different contexts in which communication may take place: which are group, formal and informal communication.
One to one communication: one to one involves talking with one other person. This can be face-to-face conversations, telephone conversations, writing and interviews. Usually the sender and receiver switch roles often during the one-to-one communication. One to one is commonly private when communicating because for example in a care home, a resident can feel frustrated or lonely when he or she family are not visiting. At that point staff can come over to the resident room to encourage or reassure the resident in private, because it makes some resident uncomfortable when staff spoke with them about something personal in front of other people. When residents feel alone with whoever they are talking to, they feel like the conversation they are having is about them and they feel they are being listened and understood.
Group is a second type of context of communication
Group discussion is a group activity carry by more than two people. Group discussion is aimed to exchange the thoughts and ideas among the members of the group on a particular subject. The subject may be to solve a common problem, to make a decision, or to answer a question that interests all the members of the group.
For example at doctors meeting It is important for everyone in the team to get their point across on whatever subject they are discussing about and work as a team to solve problem or any issue they may have. Each member of the group generally has an opportunity to communicate.
If a member of the group disagree with someone opinion or idea, it is important for to say it in a polite manner. In a group discussion, it is important to avoid conflict, as this can stop the group from being able to successfully reach an objective or the subject they are discussion about. (Exforsys Inc, 2006)
Formal communication is sharing of official information with others. There are written communication, letters, emails, presentations, speeches, and verbal communication. It Show respect when communicate with professionals and it’s a good way of communication.
Health and social care work often involves the need for formal communication. Communicating at work with managers or other professionals is quite different from communicating with family and friends. (Rasheed et al (2010)
Professionals might use language that cannot be understood by the people using services, e.g. whose language are different or have a barrier to communicate effectively, such as hearing impairment, visual impairment or the person may be deaf. This can affect the service users which can make them anxious by not understanding the message sent to them. Professionals can provide a translator for people whose first language is not English, use drawings, gesture, sigh language, facial expressions for hearing impairment patient, or use words that people can understand by avoiding slang and jargon. (Rasheed et al (2010)
As a staff member in a hospital or Health centre, Formal conversations will happen every day because you will come across new people on a daily basis and other professionals whose you don’t know.
Health and social care work often involves the need of formal communication. For example when calling the GP to make an appointment, the receptionist say first “good morning. How can I help you?” This Formal communication shows respect for others and will be understood by a wide range of people. (Asbridge et al (2008)
We often use informal communication when we know people well, for example, with friends, colleagues and family. Some friends, family members or work colleague may use terms that other people would not understand. It happens in the form of, face to face conversation, telephone calls, text messages and email. For example, when employees in health and social care sector is gathering in the outdoor play area at their break time, dining table, club or any other social-functions, informal communication is always there because they know each other well. However the way we speak to people in health and social care setting, e.g. hospital, GP and Dentist would be different depending on the situation we are in and the person we are working or talking with. (Stretch et al (2007)
Form of communication
There are many form of communication, certain of them are.
Oral or Spoken Communication: In spoken communication speaking clearly is essential. When working with service users in the workplace who have difficulties when receiving or giving message. As a carer you will give and receive information. Speaking clearly allows information to be understood and if hearing or learning difficulties are involved then some service users can lip-read or use body language to gain further understanding. (Hetherington et al (2013)
Communication that is not clear can put a service user at risk. For example if you do not clearly understand that a service user do not have sugar in their tea because of their health condition, however you put sugar in it, you can make put the resident health at risk. Carers require listening carefully to others and ensure that others understand their message. As well as carers have to send clear message and make sure other understand what they say.
Writing communication: Using written communication may not be something we do very frequently. We may not write many formal letters, but as a care worker you will have to write information in records which could prove to be of vital importance. If you are completing a care plan or recording an individual daily routine, then the information is needed in order to inform the next carer. (Nolan, 2008)
You need to record accurately any distress or worries you have tried to deal with, or any physical signs of illness or accidents that happen at the workplace. You may need to record fluid balances or calorie intake charts. It may be important to record visitors, or any medical interventions. (Nolan, 2008)
Writing communication is necessary in any health and social care workplaces. Therefore the communication written has to be clear, understandable as well as correct spelling to make sure when other carer read it, it will make sense and they can understand what you written.
Type of interpersonal interaction
We take part in interpersonal communication so that we can gain information about another individual, therefore we can interact with them more effectively. Speech such as Jargon, slang and dialect are some type of interpersonal interaction.
Jargon, slang and dialect are all regular form of communication however these affect communication. Slang is informal words often not acceptable in formal situation like a doctor talking to a patient. Social workers use slang sometime between them, however when communicate with elderly in a residential home they have to use appropriate word that resident can understand. Care workers use slang words because those around them use it but someone who has never heard or use slang word can find it hard to understand what is being said. (Stretch, et al, 2007)
Jargon language is a technical terms used by individuals of the same career or group such as care workers nurses or Doctors. It is not easy for some people to understand the meaning of the word because some people can’t use it; on the other hand it helps people to communicate with others easily. Dialect as well is used by people from different geographical area, city or a particular place, therefore people from different geographical area may not understand these words or the accent when communicate together, as well as they can't respond and therefore it is a barrier to communication. However by speaking clearly and properly, using the appropriate word can overcome these barriers (Stretch, et al, (2007)
When you meet a resident or a service user at a care home for example, you will usually be able to tell what they are feeling. You will know whether the person is tired, happy, angry, sad, frightened – even before they say anything. You can usually guess what a person feels by studying their non-verbal communication. Non-verbal means ‘without words’, so non-verbal communication is the messages that we send without putting them into words. We send messages using our eyes, the tone of our voice, our facial expression, gestures with our hands and arms and the way we sit or stand (known as body posture). (Stretch et al (2007)
Eye contact: As a Carer By maintaining eyes contact with a resident when having a conversation for example, you can guess the person feelings and thoughts. Eye contact throughout a chat can help the resident feel respectable; it shows that the carer has the resident attention and the resident have also the carer attention and the resident is being fully listened to. (Asbridge et al, 2008)
As a career, you need to understand that eye contact conveys different meanings for people from different cultures. For example, direct eye contact is considered to be rude in some cultures and should be avoided. It is important to understand what is and what is not acceptable for the people with whom you are working with. Good eye contact at appropriate times can encourage a resident to talk more openly. (Morris et al, 2001).
Facial expression: Facial expressions use to convey meaning in communication. They can be an indication of the emotional state of the person communicating. For example a resident facial expression can show a carer their emotion whether they are feeling upset, happy or worried. A sad expression can indicate that something is wrong. Facial expressions can also show pain or surprise. In this case it’s up to the carer to give emotional support the resident, encourage and met their needs. (Morris et al, 2011
Thus, Carer have to be aware that the facial expressions they make toward resident is important, and preventing the expressions of negative reaction toward residents or staffs. A good facial expression will form more encouraging results when interact with resident.
Tone of voice: A carer tone of your voice can affect the interaction that he or she is having with a resident. It is not just what you say, but the say you say it, in a calm voice or loud voice. If you talk quickly in a loud voice with a resident or a patient with a fix voice tone, they may think you are angry or upset with them, and then the conversation you are having with them will be lost or not understood, as the tone of voice is making them uncomfortable. However a calm, slow voice with varying tone may send a message of being friendly and in a good mood therefore the message send can be understood by the receiver. (Asbridge et al (2008)
Communication and language needs and preferences
British sign language: is a language used by hearing impairment or deaf people in the England instead of speaking and is the main chosen language of the Deaf society. It is a language expressed through movement of the hands, body language, face expression and head movement as a form of communication to convey words meaning. Moonie.N, (2010)
Makaton: is a signing system used to help people with communication difficulties, it benefit people to recognize what is happening and slow their feeling. Makaton uses gesture, body language, speech, eye contact and facial expression. Some individuals struggle to speak or can’t understand words and they discover it hard to communicate their feeling, wants, and thoughts. Markaton make it easier for people to get their message through when speaking is challenging for them due to their learning difficulties. Markaton help people understand what is happening and express their needs. Moonie.N, (2010)
Braille: is used by individuals who have visual impairment or completely blind, it lets them the chance to read and write individually and reading with mark that can be felt by their finger, it is based on touch. Example of braille used in a care home can be a limited vision person perhaps reading a note in braille sent from a family member to say Hello or inform them about some news; they person must feel the dots to understand what has been printed or written on the paper. Moonie. N, (2010)
People who work in health and social care environment need to be able to communicate well so that they can develop positive relationships and share information with others. Communication is the key to good interpersonal skills, which are essential to care work. This means that people who work in health and social care have to be good listeners as well as good at speaking in a way that others can understand. (Rasheed et al (2010)