Explain barriers to communication within a health and social care environment

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Explain barriers to effective communication within a health and social care environment

This essay looks at barriers that effect communication within health and social care settings. Communication is perhaps the most important part of care and support relationships. For example, without good communication between the doctor and patient, physio and client, social worker and service user, nursery nurse and child and their parents many misunderstandings can take place and care provided by these professionals is not as good. It is important that these professionals learn communication skills to make sure that they are providing the best care and support possible. Therefore, they need to be aware of the different things that can affect communication. These things are known as barriers. In this essay I will explain the barriers that can affect the communication between the doctor and patient, physio and client, social worker and service user, youth worker and teenager, care worker and resident and nursery nurse and the children and their parents.

First, there is a theory of a communication cycle where communication messages between people are understood. The communication cycle consists of:

  • Ideas occurring
  • Message coded
  • Message sent
  • Message received
  • Message decoded
  • Message understood

it is important that health and social care workers are aware of this cycle so that they understand the message that is being sent. These messages also do not have to be spoken messages, and people code and send messages using body language. A child for example, may not be able to send messages to the nursery nurse of what they want by speaking to them, but the nursery nurse by observing the communication cycle will be more likely to know what they want. The child may tug their trousers and pull them towards the toilet and by observing everything the nursery nurse will then understand that the message that the child is sending is that they need the toilet. If the message is not received, decoded and understood by the worker then this will mean that the care and support that they are giving is not as good. For example, if the nursery nurse misunderstands the message and takes the child who is tugging her trousers to play with toys, then the child who is sending the message that they need the toilet will be in quite some distress. I will now explain other factors that affect communication and how they can be a barrier to communication. The main factors that affect communication are sensory deprivation, jargon, slang, dialect, use of acronyms, cultural differences, emotional factors, disability, health issues, environmental factors, interpretation of message, humour, aggression, location and time.

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Sensory Deprivation

These barriers refer to the senses of sight, speech and hearing. A person may have poor eyesight or may even be blind, or they may be hard of hearing or totally deaf, or they may have difficulty talking for example a speech impediment like a stutter. All of these cause a barrier. A doctor may prescribe medicine and the person with poor eyesight may take the wrong dose because they cannot see the instructions. They also will not be able to see the doctor’s facial expressions and any type of communication would have to be thought about ...

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