1.0 An Introduction
Communication is a method that people use to pass on and receive messages and information to people or groups of people. Communication is an essential part of our daily lives, maintaining our relationships, home and work environment. This unit looks at Health and Social Care support workers’ communication with individuals they work and care for, providing a review of our understanding and knowledge in all aspects of communication, which can be practiced allowing us to maintaine good working or personal relationships.
It is impossible to provide a care service without communicating and developing a positive relationship with individuals who receive the services. This including understanding using different ways of communication, meet communication; needs, wishes, and preferences, and various difficulties which some people may encounter during providing, receiving and recording information about individuals. In health and social care settings, individuals communicate; in different ways, for varied reasons, and with different communication abilities levels. This has put effective communication on demand in returns to provide standard and equal service to all individuals.
1.1 The Different Reasons People Communicate
People communicate using verbal and non-verbal methods. Talking is the obvious verbal way. However, Communication also includes a variety of non-verbal communication such as touches facial expression, eye contacts, body posture, the tone of the voice, gestures and many others. When we are dealing with individuals; the way we communicate is necessary to bear all those differences in mind to be able to understand which method works best for the individuals’ preferred communication needs. wishes and preferences In Health and Social Care settings; communication involves people providing and receiving services. People of different ages and levels communicate due to varied reasons, such us;
Communicate their needs, whether they feel hungry or thirsty
Need to use the toilet, shower or change clothes or incontinence pad
Feel anxious or curious want to know things such as date, time, the day of the week
Expressing their emotions, happy, sad, stressed, worries, feeling lonely-isolated or ignored
Building relationships-telling stories, sense of humour.
Concerns regarding job roles, Ordering and giving medication
Breaking news, telling someone about the loss of close relative or friend, losing jobs, sending them home, giving them time out, explaining the complaints about people. Bad and good news should be presented in an acceptable manner avoiding a negative reaction.
Working as a support worker in Health and Social Care settings; It is important that individuals must be carefully listened to, to and get positive responses regarding their needs, and what is important to them. When talking to and working colleagues or management to be able to communicate effectively is important. Doing this minimizes dissatisfactions, also develops and maintains a good relationship with people you are serving and other individuals in work environments.
1.2 How Communication Affects Relationships
Communication is essential and a foundation of all relationships. The way we pass on, receive and respond to these messages is an important key, which can generate and make the difference between good and bad relationships. This means; communication has an effect in day to day relationship with people; in the job environment, family, community, one to one or group situations. Support worker’s role is about communicating with others, regardless of the nature of it whether it’s personal or professional. People involved in health and social care
setting, who may require communication with and develop good relationships, these include service users, colleagues, skilled workers and administrator’s teams. Others are Registered Nurses, Therapists, GPs, Doctors, Social workers, and Dieticians. However, effective communication should meet communication needs, develop and maintain confidence and build up good relationships among individuals, which in turns can make working environment become easier as people tend to cooperate and develop trust in a good relationship rather than conflicts.
2.1 The Skills/Factors to Consider When Promoting Effective Communication
When working in health and social care settings; you should bring yourself to understand how to deal with different people in the way that puts into consideration of their individuality and uniqueness to meet communication needs, their wishes and preference. Working as a support worker; I must put into individuals’ situation, check if I understand or people are able to understand me or if there is any misunderstanding which needs a clarification. Support worker I need to understand the importance and use of various skills/factors, which I believe can be effectively useful. These include:
Consider the individuals level of understanding and ability to communicate. Adapt your level of communication to meet the needs, views, and preferences; especially when people we are communicating with are unable to understand what we are saying
Concentrate, allow enough time, pause, silence without interrupting or finishing off individuals’ communication/words
Listen carefully and use appropriate –body language, eye contact, a method of listening that encourage individuals /key people to communicate. Show empathy e.g. nodding head, smile, answering yes, ok, ah, ooh, right; to show you are concentration and understanding
Answer all questions with appropriately response manners and concerns. Where necessary seek extra support: for answers of question you’re not familiar with or not confident to make sure you understand individual views, preferences, and wishes
Position yourself and check if you understand or people can understand you or if there is any misunderstanding which needs a clarification
Use open and closed questions to encourage or discourage the conversation, action, and reaction over situation or environment currently in place
In health and social care settings; recording and reporting are the important part and way of communicating with individuals and other health professionals
Develop and understand the relationship with people you work with, care for and their relationships with others
Understand and use a positive approach rather than negative. For example-convincing, encouraging, comforting language sounds better compared to dictating, discouraging or embarrassing ones.
Encourage individuality and avoid labelling and stereotyping people basing on age, sex, race, clothes, professions when communicating with service users or others
3.1 How People from Different Background may Use and/or Interpret Communication Methods in different Ways
Communication is important to all people; no matter of same or different upbringing. In health and social care settings, it’s very rare to find all individuals with the same background. When communicating with people of different cultures it’s vital to put into consideration your language use in making jokes, conversation, and storytelling. This is because some of these may sound rude, embarrassing or disrespectful due to different backgrounds nature. One example: young ones calling adults by their first names without using Mr/Mrs to people you know and mother/father, uncle/aunt/sister or brother for people you don’t know, which sound of disrespect in African culture whilst in western culture is normal.
When I am working with and supporting individuals of different background I communicate make joke/sense of humour, tell stories/chatting and call their names the way, which is respectful, agreed and acceptable to them.
3.2 Barriers to Effective Communication
In previous paragraphs explained that “when working in health and social care settings; you should bring yourself to understand how to deal with different people in the way that puts into consideration of their individuality and uniqueness”. By considering every person as an individual and unique when communicating with them can make it easy to realise and recognise the differences or difficulties they may have, which made communication less or impossible. These include:
Mental or physical disability: When an individual appears to have a part of brain or body damage may result in less or non-communication abilities. For example, people with;
Body disability caused by disease or accident have led into partially or temporarily or permanently unable to communicate verbally or difficult using hearing aid/sign language. Addition to this: certain of body disability may deform the body shape or posture, which can indelibility give the wrong impression into other people’s eyes.
Sensory deprivation causes the inability of individuals to receive or pass on messages because they have senses impairment or brain damage, most commonly a visual or a hearing disability
Illness, stress/distress, anxiety, hearing loss and visual impairment situations can interfere individual’s ability to communicate
Cultural differences: These include; languages people use, jargons, accents, and slangs. When people use different language from yours, it may cause is always causing a communication breakdown. Also, some people find it difficult to understand other people accents even if the spoken language was the same. In health and care settings; the service user may not understand when a service provider uses technical languages; for example, medical professionals e.g. doctors, nurses, therapists may use terminologies that can sound frightening or misunderstood to service users. It is important to find simple language to talk to people we are serving and responsibility of making sure they or we understand and not frustrated before we opt to seek extra support from others.
3.3 How to Access Extra Support or Services to Enable Individuals to Communicate
Communication is very important when dealing with people: extra support or service may be required to enable individuals to communicate. When making one to one or group communication and experience difficulties of passing or receiving the clear messages from them, then you may be unable to provide or receive the required information and services. However, this does not give a loophole to ignore the situation or a person. Someone should take the trouble to make sure the required information or service has been delivered as planned. The following can assist:
Learn and understand how people react to you and different ways of communicating with individuals
You seek extra information and advice about individuals’ specific communication and language needs and preferences. So that you can support them to use their preferred means of communication and language. This can involve other professionals or materials such as music therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy, communication board or sign language
Understand and confirm with individuals their preferred method of communication, language and any changes on their care need so that you know where to get extra support when needed.
When required review and update your communication skill to ensure they are suitable to meet the needs and preferences of individuals
Use an appropriate and effective method of communications with service users and other people involved by being friends, related, or job roles
Working in Health and Social care setting; I understand the importance making arrangement to an individual’s communication needs, which is to allow and give their rights to contribute to their own care, well –being, wishes, preferences and decision making if capable. This must be done in a person’s best interest even in case of emergencies.
4.1 Be able to apply principles and practice relating confidentiality
The health and social care settings; confidentiality is about keeping in confidence the personal/details or information obtained by a service provider, which relates to and identifies individuals. This information may include names, date of birth, physical or mental health, social or family circumstances. Others are; financial, education, training and employment experience, religious and sexuality details. In some occasions; criminal convictions and immigration status, racial or ethnic origins are identified. Working as a support worker, I am aware that my employer is holding information, which is individually related to employees, service users, relatives, social workers and another outsider professional or personal contact. In a company setting; recording, reporting or holding personal’s information is part of our duties and important legal requirements when performing work roles. This means:
All activities or interventions you have undertaken during our services must appropriately be kept in writing or recorded on the forms (community access, incidence form), charts (intervention, fluids, and bowel), books (communication, handover, visitors) or computers. For example; at the workplace- I record individual food and fluids intakes, outputs/eliminations, personal care, mouth care, bowel care, medication was taken and much other personal information. This must be done in daily, weekly and monthly basis.
The individuals’ information is accessed and recorded according to the work policies, procedures, and confidentiality agreement of the organisation which is a legal requirement
All individual information must be kept in a confidential manner all the time. When it’s appropriate we seek consent from individuals to access or disclose their information
We record, report and share information about the individual’s communication within confidentiality boundaries and according to legal, organisation’s policies and procedures requirements
The SNCC company; through its code of conducts for staff/nurses, policies and procedures comply with Health and Safety at Work Act, health and social care act 2008, Data protection
act 1998 have made clear and aware the requirement of keeping securely and sensitively the information we hold with strict confidence. Individuals should be kept informed about how, why and when we use and disclose their confidential personal information. Also, individuals have been informed of the repercussions of exposing personal information to wrong people or public without a good course. Working as a support worker I always maintain this and explain to a new staff member to ensure that possible consideration and protection to people’s privacy, respect, and dignity are always kept in account. Also, I understand that in some occasions; as an individual or my employer may have to disclose confidential personal information that has been obtained when it is lawful to do so.
4.2 The potential tension between maintaining an individual confidentiality and disclosing concerns
Working as the support /Care worker I understand and have been made aware of my responsibility to protect and promote the rights of people we are looking after or supporting. This may encourage working, cooperating and sharing personal information with public and other professionals, both in and outside of company settings. The Health and Social Care Act 2008 recognises the significance of information sharing. This act and has made support workers aware of their duty to confidentiality, sharing information and necessity of discloser. Disclosing information can only be exercised; when it is required by law, the court order, to protect the welfare of any person (safeguarding) or required by another public body (police) to carry out its statutory functions or the investigation of a criminal offense or proceedings. According to the code of conduct concerning confidential information discloser; I understand the duty to protect the right, respect and dignity of service users, staff members and the requirement to seek consent to disclose information about living and deceased people in accordance with the same principles of respecting recorded wishes and preferences.