Effective communication - P1, P2, P3, M1

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                Level 3 Health and Social Care

                Unit 1 - Task 2

                P4, M2, D1

In all health and social care settings there are going to be barriers that affect your communication and interpersonal skills with a service user. These barriers can be extremely difficult to overcome or very easy, but with the right strategies, you can overcome them.
Barriers to effective communication and interpersonal skills can vary. You can have barriers as simple as somebody not hearing what you are saying properly, or someone who does not understand what message you are trying to portray to them. You can also have barriers that are a lot more difficult to deal with such as, a service user having a disability, therefore not knowing what kind of learning styles they have and how they communicate; or you can have someone that has very low confidence and self esteem, therefore not willing to talk to you and open up.

As a care worker, if I was talking to a service user that had 20/20 vision, and could hear perfectly in usual cases, yet they couldn’t hear what I was saying, it would be classed as a barrier to effective communication. This is a simple circumstance that any professional may come across. If this does happen to any care worker, it is easily fixed. For example, you could move closer to your service user so that they could hear better. However, as you move closer towards the service user, you have to respect their proximity space, and not make them feel uncomfortable, intimidated or on edge. Also,

another way to make sure they can hear you properly is to talk a little bit louder, making sure at the same time, that you do not come across as shouting at them. Talking in a louder voice and speaking in a more clear tone and voice will not only help the person to hear better, but also help them to lip read what you are saying. This is because, if you are talking in a clear voice, you pronounce your words better, meaning that lip reading can become much easier to understand.

Another example of a simple barrier that is easy to overcome is if someone does not understand what you are saying to them. This does not mean that they speak another language to you; it just means that a care worker and a service user do not have the same understanding of what is being said. A good way to overcome this barrier would be to go over what the initial subject of the conversation is about, and then explain what you are trying to say. Also a care worker, you need to check with the service user that they are clear on what you have said to them.
To make sure also that you understand what they are trying to say, you should repeat back what they have said to you in your answer. This helps any misunderstandings from happening and makes communication much more effective. At the end of a conversation, it is important to sum up with the service user the things you have both spoken about, so that neither the care worker nor the service user leaves feeling confused about what was being said.

In some cases within a health and social care settings, a care worker may need to use effective communication and interpersonal skills with a service user that cannot speak for themselves. This could be for someone who has dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or someone who has learning difficulties or disabilities.

If a care worker has to communicate with a service user that suffers from any of these things, and cannot speak for themselves, then an advocate is usually needed to come in. An advocate will speak for the service user and try to find the best possible way to receive the right amount of care for the service user. An advocate usually has to be someone that does not work for a certain health and social care company. This is so they can argue for the service user without being influenced by what is easiest for the company.

There are strengths and weaknesses for using an advocate in health and social care settings. The advantage would be that the service user does not get their needs overlooked, and they have someone to argue for them so that they receive the things that they are entitle to. However, in some cases, an advocate may not fully understand the physical, emotional, intellectual and social needs of the person they are advocating for. This can mean that in some cases, the advocate is not arguing for the right thing for the service user, which means that this is a disadvantage.

I believe that using an advocate can be effective in certain cases, if the advocate knows the person in which they are speaking for and understands their feelings and needs. It important for the service user to feel comfortable in the environment they are in, so I believe it is beneficial if the advocate knows the service user fully and can argue for the right things of the service user.

Another barrier that you may come across as a care worker in a health and social care setting is language barriers. If a care worker and a service user are communicating yet they both speak different languages, this can cause a barrier and effective communication will not happen.

In cases of this happening, a translator or interpreter is asked to attend the meeting in which the care worker and service user are communicating. An impersonator is someone who changes what someone is saying into a language that the other person will understand. For example if a care worker is English, but a service user is French, then the impersonator/translator will change what the care worker has said to French so that the service user will understand what is being said and vice versa.

Although translating/impersonating sounds easy, it can be very difficult. This is because some languages do not have the same meanings of some words. This means that the translator/impersonator has to decode the message and understand the meaning of what is being said in order to translate the information. This can prove as a disadvantage, as if the translator does not understand what is being said, they can translate the wrong message causing confusion for both the care worker and the service user.

A good way to overcome this would be if the translator speaks to the service user and/or the care worker the meeting, so that the impersonator can get a grasp of what might be said during the conversation. This may be helpful so that there is not any confusion.

Another disadvantage towards using interpreter is that if a service user speaks a different language to the care worker and they are from another culture, then they may not feel comfortable discussing their issues with the care worker if the impersonator is there. Also if the impersonator is a family member or friend of the service user then they may become judgmental and interpret things in a biased way. This is not good in a health and social care setting as the care worker and the service user will not be receiving the correct information that they need.

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I do believe that using an impersonator can be beneficial with lots of advantages, as long at they remain impartial at all times, and do not become biased when translating what is being said. A good way for this to be successful is if the impersonator is a trained professional and understand the rights of confidentiality and trust, and remaining impartial at all times.

Overcoming barriers with service users who have disabilities/learning difficulties.

As a care worker, you may come across service users who suffer with a variety of disabilities or learning difficulties.

For example, if a service user ...

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