Communication plays a huge role in daily life enabling us to express our thoughts and emotions, share information and form relationships, boosting our sense of security and self-worth. In health and social care it is vital that communication is effective as misunderstandings could lead to in mistakes in the care provided hence there is a requirement for all care workers to have good interpersonal communication. The techniques we use are verbal and non-verbal communication, listening skills, negotiating skills, problem solving, decision making and assertiveness. In your role as a care worker these skills will be used daily to overcome any communication barriers that may be encountered.
When using verbal communication it is important that we adapt our speech to suit the recipient, always considering factors such as language, tone of voice, posture, proximity, facial expression and eye contact. Being assertive and speaking in a clear calm voice with varying tone, good eye contact will create a warm, friendly setting for the service user, making communication more effective. Consideration to language is very important, is it their first language for example, or the use of jargon or slang which may be appropriate when talking with colleagues or friends and but to a service user it would be difficult to understand.
Non-verbal communication can be in many forms such as gestures, sign language, makaton, braille or touch. As care workers we need to be certain that every time we use touch as a way of communicating that it is not only appropriate but welcomed and understood by the service user. We can sometimes understand how a person may be feeling just by visual contact, emotions may be expressed in their facial expression, but to gain a full understanding we need good listening skills. Accurately interpreting the information and clarifying if necessary will ensure that the care provided meets all the needs of the service user.
Written communication is often used in health and social care setting. Written records are important to record accurately any information that may need to be reviewed at a later date. An example of this would be a care plan which contains detailed information, best in written form so that it can be viewed by relevant others and updated regularly, there would be a risk communicating this amount of information verbally as points may be missed. Another example would be a risk assessment, written form to ensure every care worker is made aware of the risks or hazards relevant to that particular service user. Appointments are confirmed in writing, either by letter or card, giving the service user something to refer back to, hopefully reducing the number of missed appointments. Patient records are often in writing ensuring all professionals have access to the relevant details when caring for a service user.
Oral communication is the most common form of communication that you will use daily with service users, colleagues and other professionals. Speech is most often the quickest way to exchange information face to face or over the telephone. For example the NHS 111 helpline relies purely on verbal communication, in this instance communication has to be effective to for the service to be effective. Staff may need to change an appointment time, the most efficient and cost effective method would be a quick telephone call to the service user so establish a mutually agreeable time. Oral is the best form of communication in staff meetings as it allows views and opinions to be exchanged, discussions and negotiations to take place so that decisions on the best way to proceed can be agreed upon. It’s also the best way of passing any relevant information to colleagues at shift change-over, ensuring they are up to date with any changes in a service user’s needs.
Electronically-mediated communication is also used in a number of ways in the health and social care…