Effective communication in health and social care

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Introduction to whole unit here.

Communication: The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. (Oxforddictionaries.com, 2015)

Interpersonal interaction is a communication process that involves the exchange of information, feelings and meaning by means of verbal and non-verbal messages, between two or more persons. (Ismail, 2014)

Communication is the transfer of information between people. It involves a sender, who is sending a message, and a  receiver, who is hearing or seeing a message. The way we transfer this information is by speech (verbal communication), signals such as sign language or picture boards (special communication) or writing (non-verbal communication). This may be the exchange of thoughts, messages, feelings etc. Communication involves verbal, non-verbal, and unspoken ways of making sure our message is heard. The unspoken ways include facial expressions, which are smaller signs of the larger message we are trying to get across. For example a smile can indicate approval, whereas a scowl could indicate disgust or disagreement.

The process of communication can be made complicated by many things, such as language differences, cultural background, gender, education, special needs/disabilities etc.

Communication is important as it plays a vital part in our survival. Our dependency on our ability to communicate is a very important factor in our survival and success as humans. for example a in a nursery a baby cries when it is hungry and needs to be fed. If this baby could not communicate with its nursery nurse then they would not know to feed it and therefore the baby would die of starvation. Another example is that humans communicate by warning each other of danger, like a teacher in a school telling a child not to eat something poisonous that they’ve found. If the teacher couldn't communicate with the child then the child may eat the poisonous thing and the child may need to have medical treatment with possibly terrible consequences.

Communication is the exchange of information between people. This information may be the exchange of thoughts, feelings, messages etc. The way we transfer this information is by verbal communication, such as speech, special communication, such as sign language or picture boards, written communication, such as letters, computerised communication, such as emails or texts, or non-verbal communication, such as body language, facial expressions, hand gestures, eye contact.

Effective Communication

Communication is not just speaking however, it is also engaged listening and being able to understand the emotions of yourself and the person you are communicating with. Sometimes what we try to communicate gets lost in translation despite our best intentions. We say one thing and the other person hears another thing, ending is misunderstandings and possibly conflicts. This is why effective communication is important, to avoid the possibility of this happening.

Learning effective communication, using theories such as Egan’s SOLER theory, and Argyle’s communication cycle, can help you improve the communication skills that enable you to effectively connect with others, build trust and respect, and feel heard and understood.

You will know that the communication is effective when correct understanding is achieved between the sender and receiver of the information of the emotion and intentions behind the information.

Effective communication is needed for different reasons in different scenarios for different purposes. For example:

In a workplace, the boss will use effective communication to establish and maintain good working relationships with employees. They will have to use effective communication to help understand how their employees are feeling and asses their needs. They will use effective communication to ensure they get their point across in meetings so that everybody knows their duties and where they stand within the company. Effective communication is also important in a workplace to ensure safety in the work environment, for example whoever is in charge of the health and safety of the workplace will have to effectively communicate so they the employees know what to do in dangerous situation, for example in the event of a fire, because if the communication is not effective, the employees may not understand what they have to do resulting in possibly disastrous consequences when a dangerous situation arises.

Effective communication is vital for those who work in the childcare sector, as the practitioners need to build and maintain good relationships with the children, their parents, and possibly other relevant authorities (such as social workers, health visitors, police etc.) This is because it is imperative that everybody is provided with the necessary information that they need, so the communication must be concise and clear. The practitioners must communicate effectively in order to gain and share information about the child and discuss care plans. Without effective communication the practitioners cannot engage productively with each other, resulting in the child possibly receiving the wrong care, and the needs of the child may not be met. The child must also engage in effective communication with practitioners to ensure that we know what their needs are, and how they are feeling. They must feel comfortable with the practitioner and build mutual trust and respect in order for them to be cared for properly.

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In a care home for the elderly, the care worker must communicate with the elderly in a friendly and positive manner. If the care worker was walking around and sharply asking each person: ‘You want tea or coffee?’ it would seem rude. The behaviour would come across as cold, disrespectful, and 'mechanical'. The care worker should start off a conversation first, perhaps ask the person how their day is going, and then offer them a drink, giving them the options of the drinks available. This would give the elderly person the impression that the care worker is being friendly ...

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