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Recognise the effects of barriers, and influences on, communication

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Unit 2, A04 Katherine Crabtree Recognise the effects of barriers, and influences on, communication In care settings it is very important for care workers to be able to communicate effectively with the service users they are responsible for, and for this to be done they need to be aware of the barriers to communication which can hinder successful interactions. According to Fisher (2006) the barriers to communication can include: * Environmental factors * Social factors * Emotional instability * Inappropriate language or behaviour * Lack of skills * Cultural barriers * Use of gestures * Failure to maintain confidentiality * Incorrect positioning Environmental factors Before engaging in a conversation with a service user, the care worker should consider where would be the most appropriate place for the interaction to take place. Factors such as temperature, lighting and ventilation should be taken in to consideration to make sure that the service user is comfortable enough to actively engage in the conversation. Care workers should also remember that what is comfortable for them may be less so for the service user; for example, a care worker in a residential home may have been on their feet and moving around a lot throughout the day before the conversation, and so may feel quite hot, but the older resident they will be speaking with may well feel cooler as they have not had the same level of physical exertion. In such a situation the carer should not assume that the service user is also feeling hot and say, open a window, but instead should ask the service user if they are either too hot or cold, and act accordingly. If it is too bright in the room where the carer and service user are sitting, they may have to squint; making them unable to see each other properly and communication can also be hindered if the room is too dull. ...read more.


Lack of skills Skills, such as using open and closed questions when appropriate, summarising and using prompts are important for effectively conversing with service users and a lack of these skills can therefore hinder communication between service users and care workers. For example care workers should remember to be patient if there are long pauses before a service user answers a question, as they often need longer to think about it and decide how to respond. A care worker without effective communication skills might think the long pause is unusual and repeat the question or ask another, which could confuse the service user as they would not know which question to answer first and they would also feel rushed and so not give full or fully thought through responses. According to Fisher (2006) interactions which demonstrate a lack of skills are those: * That use multiple questioning techniques * That are full of leading questions - as the service user may give the answer they think is 'expected' * That have sentences that are too long and have no focus - these would just confuse the service user and achieve no goal * That use too many closed or monosyllabic questions - closed questions allow for only very limited answers, but are necessary for obtaining certain information * In which listening is not active and there is a lack of genuine interest - this would be displayed through negative body language (such as fidgeting and looking at the clock) and would not encourage the service user to continue with what they are saying * Where there is a lack of congruency * Where tone and pace are not used appropriately - for example a carer should not sound too cheerful if discussing something upsetting to the service user, such as the loss of a loved one Inappropriate behaviour Inappropriate behaviour includes: * Shouting - which is seen as aggressive and intimidating, however speaking very loudly is sometimes necessary if talking with someone who has ...read more.


Such a situation may also effect the service user's relationship with the other service users; they could feel that the others are 'laughing at them' or think less of them, which is also likely to affect self esteem as well because how we see ourselves is effected by how we believe we are seen by others. Inappropriate language and behaviour, such as intimidating service users or physically hurting them is also likely to make the service user feel 'worthless' and result in poor self-esteem, which in turn may result in a lack of confidence in their ability and they may then choose to withdraw from things such as social activities within the care setting. Care workers should be careful not to criticise service users; often if someone is criticised over a prolonged period of time they will come to believe the negative things said about them. Furthermore low self-esteem and having poor relationships with others is likely to result in self isolation (because they will feel less valued and less accepted by others), and feelings of anger, frustration and unhappiness. Therefore barriers to communication can prevent service users from achieving what Maslow calls, 'self actualisation'. Summary The barriers to communication include: environmental barriers, such as bad lighting and unsuitable room temperature, social barriers which can arise due to a lack of self-esteem, lack of skills and confidentiality, and inappropriate language and behaviour, such as threatening service users or physically abusing them. Factors influencing communication include: cultural influences; people from different cultures, areas of the country and people of different age groups will have different expectations and will want to live their lives in different ways. Positioning and the use of gestures also influence communication; care workers should allow service users to have their own personal space and should use gestures with caution, keeping in mind that different people may interpret gestures in very different ways. The communication barriers discussed can have very negative effects of self-esteem and relationships; things like inappropriate language, lack of skills and failure to maintain confidentiality can result in service users feeling unvalued and lead to depression and withdrawl. ...read more.

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