Unit 7 : Communication in Health and Social Care

Pearson BTEC Level 4/5 HNC/D Diploma Health and Social Care – Unit 7 : Communication in Health and Social Care

Unit Description

Communication In Health And Social Care

This is solution of communication in health social care assignment, divided in three essays based on role of communication and method to improve communications.
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Communication In Health And Social Care


Communication In Health And Social Care

Communication is the most important tool necessary in all human endeavours and health and social care needs the best of communication since it is attached to someone’s life. Doctors, nurses, assistants, clinicians, and all their team member need to embrace the idea of communication as being more important than position or ego or hatred or carelessness. It is the chief important thing in health and social care and there is not option to avoid it or even letting it loose. This essay focuses on some aspects of importance of communication in health and social care.

Communication In Health And Social Care

Essay Section 1 (Case study and Video)

Dealing with inappropriate interpersonal communication between individuals

Interpersonal skills are necessary to learn in healthcare because when the doctor understands their own and the listener’s interpersonal skills, they will be able to deal with various tasks and especially with people. In healthcare, usually the doctor is at command and asks questions to the patient or to their family, and the interaction is usually a simple one. However, it is important to understand the hidden message behind the doctor’s question and try and find out the reason for asking certain question. This is critical to the patient or their family to understand. In dealing with people with inappropriate interpersonal communication skills is to ask more questions to get to the real meaning behind their intention. On asking questions, the listener would come to know the real fact behind the message and learn to understand the problem better, which in turn will help him to take related action to solve the problem. If this does not give fruitful answer, then it is better to observe the person sending the message, look at his actions and gestures, the confidence in his message, and try and gauge the intention behind the message. People usually tend to like other people who are like them, look like them, behave like them, and are similar in their actions and thinking like them (Berscheid and Hatfield, 1969). Hence it is easier to deal with such people who are similar, but some skills are required to be learned to interact with people opposite from us.

Strategies to support users of health and social care services with specific communication needs

In healthcare there are all kinds of people with special communication needs. Some patients may not be able to speak at all, some may not understand English, some may not be educated to understand the message, some may be deaf, some may not be in a position to speak and understand anything. For such people, it is important to be caring, concerned, and be sensitive to such people, especially people with disabilities. For them, strategies like non-verbal communication, sign language, lip reading, slang expression, and choice of room or location for a conversation (Stretch, 2007). Such strategies are available for dealing with patients with special communication needs. Using language to demonstrate things, assisting them to touch a product to convey a message, explaining details and showing sights that are usually taken for a specific understanding, and writing messages, etc. are some of the other ways in which the communication can be carried out with people of special requirements. It is important to understand the specific needs of the patients first and then try and address their concern with an appropriate language or communication channel. Since Anna was not able to speak in a clear language, the doctors could have adopted a more simple and sign language 1-19communication style to understand her problem. Doctors and nurses must rather be trained in way that they have understanding of people in such communication styles to handle multiple patients who are unable to speak or have a blurred speech. They can also use written communication with Anna with her pointing to yes or no, thereby communicating the answer to the doctors.
Essay Section 2 (Mentoring case study)

How the communication process is influenced by values and cultural factors

People are a mixture of different cultures, different religions, adopting different beliefs, living style, dress codes, language, customs, behaviours, etc. It is important to understand this difference in the health care sector, because not understanding this may create and awkward situation which would be embarrassing for the patient to overcome. The student nurse when comes up for new work, she does not attempt to make a very good impression in her first visit to the patient. Instead of caring for an ailing patient and giving him a bowl, she insults him by criticizing him for him having thrown out on the bed, and moreover, she also does not change his clothes and asks other fellow nurse to do the job for her. This tells that the student nurse is coming from a different background where she must have learned that caring for a patient does not include changing his clothes or cleaning his bed. A patient from a different country admitted in another country where the first language is not recognisable, it may prove difficult for his communication with the doctor. A patient from a different culture and religion may not be able to understand the doctor’s treatment method. So these cross cultural differences also affect the communication in healthcare.

How legislation, charters and codes of practice impact on the communication process in health and social care

Communication in healthcare is being governed by some rules and legislation which needs to be followed. Practices like the confidentiality code of conduct which does not allow anyone to share the patient details, protects their identity, informs them earlier about the options available to them for choosing, are useful in protecting and maintaining a healthy information flow and does not create any issue out of it. There is personal data and sensitive data which is to be shared with concerned persons only and not with everyone. The sharing of this data is important because patient’s personal information is his personal identity and disclosing it to any unknown source is a violation of the code. The sharing of sensitive data which includes patients with ethnic backgrounds, sexual abuse cases, criminal records, etc. has even more stringent regulations to be followed. Thus rules, legislation, copyright information is necessary in healthcare to safeguard the disclosure of personal and sensitive information.

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Effectiveness of organisational systems and policies in promoting good practice in communication

Formulating organisational systems to be followed by every staff member in a health care set up plays a vital role in managing communications practices. In the case, the student nurse came from a background which was not similar to the hospitals set up. The doctor did a good job by observing the nurse and her acts, which gave him an idea of how the nurse would eventually treat patients. The doctor did that because of an organisational set up which needs to be followed by each nurse. The set up involving caring, cleaning, not reacting for the mess of a patient, and showing concern for the patient by giving them confidence were not seen to be reflecting in the student nurse. Thus, it requires an organisational set up for communication issues which helps patients get the right message from the nurses. If there is no system, the nurse would not know how to react in specific and sensitive situations, and it would spoil the entire reputation of the nurse, doctor, and the set up. Behavioural conducts are important in healthcare to handle typical cases, but a special kind of organisational learning is necessary to face the most difficult situations. There needs to be a proper information strategy being formed and implemented in the hospital, so that each nurse gets the same message. This strategy must be governed with a governing body to oversee any faults and improve it periodically. The nurse must undergo an induction program where they are taught the entire scope of work for themselves and no one must be allowed to start work if they do not pass in such induction program test. The program is able to induct all nurses with the same and benchmarking activities to be followed by them.

Ways of improving the communication process in a health and social care setting

In the case presented, the act of mentoring is a significant factor in determining optimum communication excellence. By observing the student nurse first, the doctor got an idea of the behaviour of the student and came to know exactly whether the nurse was right for the set up or not. The process of communication is very crucial in the patient’s recovery, because the patient’s condition is very fragile and needs immense care and concern at the right moments. Collaborative working is one of the best ways that the doctor and nurse can adopt to improve their communication skills with the patients and with each other to avoid any clashes. It is seen that communication failures are the leading causes for occurrence of patient harm inadvertently (Leonard et.al, 2004). Working in collaboration with each other tends to avoid unexpected lack of products or information transfer at the crucial moment like a surgery, and it also manages to avoid any ambiguities in information. One other way to improve the communication is to make the communication code of conduct to be followed by everyone and there should be an inclusion of a heavy penalty if not followed. Closed circuit cameras to be put up to observe the behaviours and communication of all, so that even in their seniors’ absence, the violators would be caught and punished. The adherence to such policies and conduct is necessary to be followed instead of just forming them.

Essay Section 3 (ICT Technology)

Use of ICT software packages to support work in health and social care

The use of software in healthcare is a supportive technology which is meant to improve the health of the individual and also provide optimum accuracy to doctors for inspecting the situation of patients. However in 2013, the extensive changes in the IT system and the NHS system, patient’s personal records could be at a risk, because the NHS is trying to include all patient information into a single IT system. There are increasing pressures on the usage of NHS and IT system, but there are issues in the data safety of patients’ records, especially when there are 1.8 million records stolen in a single year (Doyle, 2013). Information technology can enhance the time consuming activities of the doctor in studying the patient records and can save a lot of time for patient treatment. Its use increases the quality of results, safety of results, accuracy of results which helps in proper diagnosis giving the doctor correct and accurate information to deal with to take appropriate action. The use of information technology also helps in maintaining proper track records of nurses and assistants, maintaining their accountability, maintaining patient information. It helps the smooth flow of information flow between different departments for avoiding errors and also to have first-hand information to every department and not depend on secondary information passed on verbally. The technology keeps a complete information track record of the patient including their age, diagnosis, past medication, report results, radiology images, progress notes, vital signs, allergies, and all other health related information about the patient. This enables to create a single master data which can be easily managed and accessed by everyone governing the patient. However, there is a fear of the theft of information also in such cases, and for that the access of it needs to be limited to the team looking after the patient and not anyone else.

Benefits of using ICT in health and social care for users of services, care workers and care organisations.

One of the software for medical examination is the radiology machine which directly sends and saves the images and reports to the patient’s ID. When the patient finishes getting examined by a radiologist, the report which is generated is directly sent to the patient ID saved in the computer and it saves all images, all results, and all information data of the patient in it. Moreover, the same master data created can be used to send to the consulting doctor immediately and the doctor can access the same within minutes after the report is generated. Only once the information needs to be filled in, and after filling it all the diagnosis and all possible causes comes up automatically with the most influenced being on the top. Such software makes the job of the radiologist very easier and also for the consulting doctor. There are other software like Clinical decision support system (CDSS), Picture archiving and support system (PACS), Electronic materials management (EMM), Radio frequency identification (RDI). Automated dispensing machines (ADM), etc. which equally provide multiple benefits to doctors, and officers. Care workers get a support system which enhances their efficiency and effectiveness in working, along with ease of operations. They do not have to re-enter new records every time for a patient, but can always use the system software to track the progress of the patient and taken necessary information (Healthit.gov, 2014). The organization as a whole does benefit in improving its overall efficiency of the staff and maintaining the patient record for a lifelong basis to access it easily and readily and getting all basic information immediately without any hassle. This maintains a good relationship between the health and social care organization and the patients.

Legal considerations in the use of ICT impact on health and social care

Legal considerations play a leading role in its effects in the health and social care sector. Every technology needs permission to be used by the government and where it is to be used. Using it in hospitals needs special approval since it is a sensitive place with millions of records of patients to be handled. If there is a ban in using certain technology in a country, it cannot be used in the hospital, and thus the benefits that could have been derived from that instrument do not accrue to the hospital. If there is a restriction in importing certain software. It may not be able to use the software at all. This could have serious impacts on the health care sector. The unavailability of advanced technology may reduce the efficiency of the staff, which in turn may not produce better results for patients care, and this may increase the time for the patients’ recovery. This also create more financial burden on the patient, and draining of energy, time and money on the hospitals part. Though the advanced technology may have many advantages, it also has some disadvantages. It may be very expensive to build and may be very complex in its nature of operating. Workers using it may have to undergo substantial training in learning the new operation. The Health and Safety Act 1974 indicts that all manufacturers of products being used at a hospital will need to be safe and give reasonable support in its assigned scope. The ICT technology manufacturers will need to be careful in designing nay products as they are legally bound by their professional responsibility. The Data protection act 1998 may help the healthcare industry in conserving the information of the patients and not share it with anyone with prior permission from the patient itself. The Computer misuse act 1990 may penalise severely anyone who tries to misuse the computer to which the patient machines are attached and constantly measures their blood pressure. This may prevent anyone from misusing it for personal gain, and if found to be using it where not required, a heavy penalty may be enforced on the person. Thus with benefits, the information technology also has its problems which may roll over to the patient and affect him. In spite of this, it is better to be more efficient and effective with its use rather than depend on humans alone. If properly handled with appropriate governance, it may prove to be profitable for all.
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