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commuication in a care setting

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Communication in Care Settings

In this unit, I will be focusing on the communication skills used in a health care setting and exploring the factors that support and inhibit communication. To do this, I will be observing an early year setting, THE BUSINESS ACADEMY BEXLEY primary section (4-5 years old) so as to give a detailed analysis of how these communication skills are used.

Communication is a process used to give information, obtained information and to share ideas, opinions and views. There are four main forms of communication which are written communication, computerised communication, oral communication and special methods. However, body language, signs and symbols are also ways in which people communicate with each other.

Oral communication which is also known as verbal communication involves two or more people interacting with each other verbally while using a range of different body language messages (non-verbal) to emphasise on the message they intend to send across. Oral communication is not just useful to share information but it is also important to help build relationships between people hence emphasizing on the importance for care workers to have good social skills as they face a wide range of emotional needs in their profession. Oral communication can be used to: - exchange ideas, provide emotional support, build relationships, gain their client trust in the business, solve problems, carry out interviews and assessments, explaining issues and asking information. However when a lot of information is obtained it is very hard to retain this information in exactly the same from in your memory and this is why it has to be written down.

Written communication is a more formal form of communication. This form of communication is essential for taking down details that needs to be reviewed at a later date. When information taken down is accurate, they can be useful when reviewed in future. In a health care setting it is very important that personal information is accurate and factual as failure to do so could cause:

 * Delays in meeting people’s needs.

 * Making mistakes with arrangements for people’s care

 * Not being able to follow up inquires

 * Other professionals not having the right information to help them with decision making.

Printed forms are used in most organisations to help their staff ask essential questions and have accurate information. When taking down information it is important to:-

  • find out if the interviewee agrees with the information you have taken down
  • Repeat numbers taken down back to the interviewee to check that they are accurate and check the spellings of names are also accurate.
  • Check that you are collecting the right information by using a form or a prepared set of headings.

Written communication can be used to:

  • create staff rotas
  • take down the minutes of a meeting
  • take down personal record of a client
  • explain procedures and policies
  • record information passed between staff during ‘hand-over’
  • to record arrangements

Nevertheless, most organisations have taken on other forms of taking down records. This is by using a computer.

Computerised communication involves using a wide range of electronic objects to communicate e.g. a computer/fax. This form of communication is often faster than paper based written communication. This form of communication also makes it easier to network with other colleagues rapidly using electronically recorded messages. It can either be form or informal based on the type of information being shared e.g. a text between friends or a clients record. It is important to handle computerised information with as much formality as other written records. This involves taking some safety measures to ensure information stays confidential and it is not lost or tampered with. These safety measures are:-

  • Creating back-up copies for each document in case the system crashes.
  • Create password security so that only appropriate staff can access the document.
  • Documents are printed out in a confidential area and kept safe to avoid the information getting into the wrong hands.
  • Ensure you know the policies on printing out details so they don’t get lost or into the wrong hands.
  • Ensure that you know the policies on who is permitted to update or change records so that the information is not lost or altered by accident.

Although all these forms of communication are useful, they often do not attend to individual with special needs.

Special methods of communication are used to help individuals with special needs express themselves (i.e. communicate) there are three main types of special methods of communication. They are: - British Sign Language (BSL), Makaton, and Braille.

British Sign Language is used to help deaf people communicate. It involves using a series of signs demonstrated with the hands to communicate with others. BSL was devised by deaf people and has evolved over the years in the UK’s deaf community. However, Makaton is a system used to help people with learning difficulties to communicate and develop their language skills. They use words, signs, symbols, and body language to help them communicate. There are a lot of symbols that could help people with learning difficulties to recognise an idea or communicate with each other.

Blind people however cannot see symbols and signs s they can’t use BSL and Makaton. This is why they use Braille. Braille is a system of raised marks that can be felt with your fingers. It is a system of written communication that is based on the sense of touch for blind or partially blind people. Braille was published by Louis Braille in 1829 and can now be printed out using special printers. Braille can be found at the pedestrian crossing, government buildings (hospitals, lifts, schools and buses)

All these forms of communication can help you communicate effectually but they do not necessarily break certain barriers that could inhibit communication and there are certain other factors that can support communication.

Factors that Support and Inhibit Communication

It is very important that skilled workers get to know their clients rather that make assumptions about them as every individual is different and what one might see as normal might not be the same for another person.

In order to get to know an individual, you will need to understand hoe the individual’s culture, religion, gender, age group, race, and class influences them.

In many communities, there are a lot of different religions, cultural values and difference in gender role as some people may belong to the same ethnic group but still have different class group or religion. This is why just knowing an individual’s religion or ethnic group does not really inform you on the individual’s values, beliefs and culture. The most effectual way to learn about an individual is by communicating with people that live very different lives. This could hence help you promote equality and diversity in communication.

Words and body language can be interpreted differently according to the cultural context.

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