Communication Barriers in Health and Social Care

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Barriers to communication

There are many factors which may affect an individual's ability to effectively communicate. These factors are known as communication barriers, as they prevent or interfere with the person's ability to send, receive, and/or understand a message

For example visual and/or hearing impairments can act as barriers to effective communication.  These barriers mean that the person has difficulty is seeing written communication, such as a letter or email, and/or hearing spoken word conversations, for example between a care worker and a patient in a day care centre when the two are discussing future care plans, leading to possible misunderstandings, or embarrassment to the person with the hearing/visual impairment and they cannot fully understand the care worker if the care worker is not aware of, or not seeing to, the persons additional needs. These needs can be seen to by speaking clearly and slowly, and/or repeating, rephrasing what has been said, to help people understand what is being said to them. Time should be given to the message receiver; so that they can digest the information they have received and think about how they want to respond. Electronic devices can also be used, such as text phones, telephone amplifiers and hearing loops, and it is important to give the individuals using the devices enough time to use it whilst communicating. An induction loop system helps deaf people hear sounds more clearly by reducing or cutting out background noise.

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Conditions such as cerebal palsy, Down's syndrome, and autism tend to limit a person's ability to interpret other people's non-verbal communication, such as body language, and their ability to communicate verbally. In a care setting these needs should be attended to, so that effective communication can be achieved between the care worker and the individual with the condition. For example if someone with autism is having trouble finding the right words to explain how they are feeling to a counsellor, the counsellor could perhaps suggest other ways to express themselves, such as through drawing etc.

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