Outcome 1: Understanding why communication is important in adult social care settings.
People communicate for a variety of different reasons. These can be to express our desires and wishes or express our emotions. A baby screaming could be communicating its hunger or pain. We also communicate to survive, to form relationships, socially interact and to share ideas.
Communication can affect relationships in a variety of ways. Good communication can encourage participation and help to create equality between people. Having good communication will help to build relationships/friendships and promote independence. Inadequate communication can have an opposite effect and a person could feel isolated and misunderstood. This could lead to negative emotion and frustration and seriously inhibit a person’s life. Communicating effectively enables a person to convey a variety of needs and emotions for example if they are in pain, hungry/thirsty or too hot or cold.
Observation while communicating is important as it will tell you whether someone has understood or not the communication. Whether it is a verbal question or the relevant communication such as signs or flash cards. No response or a negative response could indicate that something has not been understood, whereas a positive response such as an answer, smile or nod would indicate they understood the communication.
Outcome 2: Understanding how to meet the communication and language needs, wishes and preferences of an individual. Everyone is an individual and different, so needs and preferences will be different for each client e.g. If a client is deaf then the use of sign language would be helpful as speaking would not be helpful even though some would lip read. This means any communication would take place face to face so the client can see what is being communicated to them. Whereas if a client is blind the speech and touch would be used, also brail could be used for written communication. Non-verbal communication:
Eye Contact: – Our eyes reflect our sincerity, integrity and comfort when communicating with another person. Which is why having good eye contact while conversing is the indication that the communication has gone on well. Touch: – touch is a very powerful means of communication. Lightly touching a person’s hand can convey your concern and affection for them. This can also communicate that you are listening and taking on board what they are saying to you. Physical gesture: – To bring a cup of tea for a client or bringing their favorite newspaper would show that you care and will bring the reassurance that you are providing the best care possible.
Body Language: – This shows how we are feeling, if you are slumped or yawning this shows you are bored whereas if you are standing with your arms crossed then this will show you are being defensive. So being happy would show as smiles and open arms and plenty of eye contact. Behaviour: – So being happy, smiling and talking shows we are happy, whereas if we are shouting and being abusive then this shows something is very wrong. So that when we are happy it will show to others we are open to having a conversation, but someone would not want to communicate with someone that is showing they are in a bad mood. Verbal Communication
Vocabulary: – Using the correct vocabulary in the right order when communicating is important so that the message is understood correctly. Linguistic Tone: – Tone is very important as an aggressive tone could cause distress whereas a gentle tone show care and compassion. Pitch: – A quiet pitch can be used to show compassion whereas a load pitch can convey the need for help or to raise an alarm.
Outcome 3: Understanding how to reduce barriers to communication
Visual impairment:- Use of touch (where appropriate), increased use of tone of voice as opposed to facial expression, ensure all that is normally visually communicated is transferred to a method that can be heard and use of Braille, tapes and computer programs
Hearing impairment: – Speaking slowly and clearly, removing any other distractions that cause a noise, positioning so that you face the person, allow person to lip read, make sure hearing aids are worn and fully functioning, use of sign language and use of flashcards or electronic note taker
Language differences: – Use of gestures, pointing to various objects, use of pictures or flashcards, use of a relevant language dictionary and through an interpreter.
Cultural differences: – Explore their culture so that you have an understanding of it, accept that they might have a different way of expressing themselves and try to reach a compromise as to what is acceptable with both parties.
Physical disabilities: – Depending on the nature of the disability this will have to be titrated according to the individual’s problems but could include speaking clearly and slowly, using closed questions, not patronising, only asking one question at a time and using specialised equipment.
Learning disabilities: – Initially assess the level of understanding and speak at the appropriate level without using jargon, allow time to respond and if necessary repeat, used closed questions and picture cards. Confusion i.e. acute illness or neurological disease:- Observe their non-verbal communication, eliminate all distractions, allow them time to communicate, discuss only one item per sentence, do not challenge confused statements and use pictures and items of reference.
Environmental barriers: – e.g. noise, cold, lighting, privacy, distractions and unfamiliar surroundings. Ensure background noises and distractions are kept to a minimum and ensure the environment is suitable for the client.
Comprehension barriers: – e.g. anxiety, worry, high emotions, lack of knowledge on subject, attitude and personal values and confusion between verbal and non-verbal clues. Ensure that the person is able to understand, do not assume that they do not understand and don’t use jargon.
Personal barriers: – e.g. incompatible communication styles, low self-esteem/value, age, gender, work role and dress code etc. Being aware that the person may struggle with communication with people from other backgrounds to themselves.
The best way of checking verbal conversation is understood is by using ‘active listening.’ This is when you relay the key parts of the conversation as you’ve understood it back to the individual. This double checks with them that you have both understood conversation in the same way. For example:- A client said that she going out tomorrow for the day with her daughter and that they are going to have some lunch at the local pub, so she will not need my meals on wheels delivered. The client requests that her meals on wheels lunch is cancelled. So in return I would say ‘How lovely that you are spending the day with your daughter tomorrow, which pub are you going to?’ She would reply with the White Hart in town. Then to confirm I would ask ‘So your meals on wheels will need to be cancelled for tomorrow, would you like me to do that?’
There are many services that offer information and support enabling effective communication these include: Translation and interpreting services, these services bridge cultural barriers and help those with possible impairments or disability communicate effectively. Most councils provide a service and it is available in some NHS establishments there are also private providers e.g. Communication Support Ltd. Advocacy services, these services provide people who can both listen and speak for people in times of need, by exploring options, securing rights, providing representation and enabling people to take the opportunity to regain power and control over their lives e.g. OCD Action, Mind and SEAP etc. Speech and Language services, these serves provide specialist assessment and management of people with disorders of speech, language, communication and even swallowing. They are usually private therapists however therapy is available within the NHS. Information services, these services give information on specific impairments or illnesses and help reduce barriers to communication e.g. Alzheimer’s organisation, stroke association and action on hearing loss.
Outcome 4 Understand confidentiality in adult social care settings
Confidentiality is something spoken, written or acted on in privacy or secrecy; the imparting of private matters limited to persons authorised to use information or documents.
In daily communication confidentiality can be maintained by not discussing work matters with other clients, clients’ family and friends, your own family and friends and the general public. Confidential matters could include information on client’s, their personal details, their routine/ habits, their prescribed medication or their emotions and feelings. Matters could also include information on the company, their suppliers, their trade secrets or financial affairs. When having to pass confidential information to another member of staff or inter-professional health care team this should be done through client records and recorded conversation.
Situations where confidential information may need to be shared with other agreed persons includes to assist continuity of care amongst agencies involved in the delivery of care. When forming a basis for planning clients care and treatment, getting feedback on their progress and suggesting action for prevention and health promotion. To notify others of detected changes in the clients condition. When safeguarding guidelines are being contravened e.g. if a client discloses examples of emotional or physical abuse from family or staff. When the client is re-locating to another establishment or agency.
To seek advice about confidentiality there are a number of possible sources of help including colleagues, your manager, your employer, company confidentiality policy or Public Concern at Work (PCaW). In most situations it is appropriate to raise the concerns informally, normally by speaking with your manager, this is because the concerns may be able to be addressed most easily and appropriately at a local level. If the concerns relate to the practice of another colleague you can report the concerns to the appropriate manager in the organisation. You can also consider contacting the relevant professional regulator, act in accordance with the employer’s policy on raising concerns.