Staff communication is crucial in running an effective residential home as the staff are the people who care for the clients on a daily basis and therefore need to be in the know about the clients and what is going on in the home. It is important for management to communicate with staff and create a trusting working relationship so that staff feel comfortable coming to them for support, advice or even to report bad practice or abuse. Staff also need to have good communication within themselves and be able to pass on information to other staff in a clear and precise way. One way in which staff can pass on information within the home is to write information in the communication book which staff members are required to read and sign when coming onto shift. To back this information up senior staff also record relevant information in the shift hand over file which gets handed over to the new staff coming onto shift. These ways of passing on information are mostly successful however there is a barrier as you cannot be sure the information has been passed onto all the necessary people. Speaking about issues and changes in staff meetings is important as information can be passed onto the staff team as a group so that you know as management everyone is aware. As team leader I ensure that anyone that did not attend the meeting reads and signs the staff meeting minutes to ensure even those that were not present are still aware and involved in any changes or issues that need addressing. If there is crucial information that needs communicating, for example a Senior needs to let another Senior staff member know that a client has new medication that needs administering in the morning, then that Senior can phone the person so ensure they have got the message rather than relying on night staff to pass it on which leaves the risk of the message being forgotten or changed in any way.
One way in which I have found communication to be unsuccessful between staff is verbally passing the message onto another then another until the desired person is reached. This becomes almost like a game of Chinese whispers with the message changing slightly each time it is passed on and eventually the message intended becomes unrecognisable and this can cause issues between individual staff members who become frustrated at not