4897315-773724Bethany Perkins Group A
0Bethany Perkins Group A
The Role of Effective Communication and Associated Theories within Health and Social Care
Good communication is vital within health and social care and can have a huge impact on a service user. There are many forms of communication and many factors that can impact it. As a care worker it is vital that they make sure that anything they communicate to a service user is understood by them, to prevent any mistakes. A useful theory for this is the communication cycle. Stated it Stretch and Whitehouse (2010), Argyle (1972) argued that skilled interpersonal interaction requires a communication cycle that enables you to decode what other people are communicating in order to change your own behaviour to suit them and they way they communicate. It helps to you understand how they are receiving what you are telling them and how you should communicate back for it to be effective. This also links with reflective listening. Having good listening skills enables you to mirror the conversation in order to check understanding. (Stretch and Whitehouse 2010)
609602327910Type of Barriers
00Type of Barriers
2454255945515The Communication Cycle
00The Communication Cycle
Communication that involves difficult, complex or sensitive issues Use reflective listening and the communication cycle. Develop a ‘caring presence’ and empathy.
Unmet language needs or preferences Asses the needs and meet the requirements. Translators
Sensory Impairment Human or technological aids.
Disabilities Personality, self-esteem needs, anxiety or depression Reflective listening and the communication cycle. Develop a caring presence and use open questions.
Aggression/Submissiveness Show respect and defuse the aggression whilst staying calm.
Assumptions, Values or Beliefs Use communication cycle to detect barriers.
Jargon Use the appropriate language so that the service user understands
Cultural Variations Learn about the variations and avoid making assumptions.
Abuse of Power Empower others, do not manipulate or control people
Alcohol or Drugs Assess the risk and use appropriate non-verbal behaviour.
Adapted From Stretch and Whitehouse (2010)
In Case Study one there is clearly a lack of good communication, causing a negative impact on the service user and it is apparent why. Due to the fact that Mr Brown was going through bereavement and was becoming “withdrawn” and “refusing the leave home” it was vital that he should have had valid support.
Mr Brown was “reluctant” to attend the bereavement counselling in the first place which suggests that he may have needed extra help or encouragement when he arrived. It is plausible to argue that he was nervous to be around people as he had been “refusing to leave home or join in with any activities” since his wife passed. The workers should have been made aware by Mr Brown’s GP but the fact that they weren’t shows that there was a barrier to the communication in which the idea wasn’t formed.
The source states that the counselling session was held in a room where the “walls are made of plasterboard” which immediately suggests that Mr Brown felt uncomfortable and unwelcome. The setting has an impression on the service user, as if they don’t feel comfortable in their environment they will perhaps be less willing to partake in the session. It is important that the environment is appropriate and in this case, it wasn’t. If service users don’t feel valued they may be more hesitant to communicate with care workers. It is vital that workers respond to any service user’s emotional needs. This situation would have required a sensitive communicative approach and the care workers should have created a caring presence. (Stretch and Whitehouse 2010)
As a service user, Mr Brown had certain rights and in this case study these rights were not respected. He could hear “noise and laughter coming from the ladies in the kitchen” which implies that they could hear him, if he spoke. As a service user he has the right to be given privacy, which wasn’t provided in this setting. Instead of using this temporary room, they could have found a different room or have postponed the meeting because the quality of service is the most important thing, especially when dealing with something as sensitive as someone going through bereavement. Mr Brown should have been made to feel comfortable and welcome in his environment, but instead felt so out of his comfort zone that he was unable to talk.
Confidentiality is a legal requirement within health and social care and that fact that Mr Brown wasn’t given it is a problem. People are more likely to share information about themselves if they feel confident in the fact that the person they are telling will not pass it on. Confidentiality demonstrates respect for people and if that trust is broken, it may affect the service user’s self-esteem. The fact that Mr Brown could her the ladies laughing, may have made him think that they could be laughing at him. He was going through a tough time and hearing people being happy only made him feel worse. This caused a barrier in his communication in which the message was not sent as he felt uncomfortable and this had a negative impact on him because at the end of the meeting he just wanted to go home with “a bottle of whisky and close his front door” which indicates that he would probably not even attend bereavement counselling again, when it really might benefit him, implying that the quality of this service did not just ruin his day, but would perhaps affect him for the rest of his life. If the workers had established a better environment and made him feel comfortable in his surroundings he may have felt more willing to talk which could have helped him to deal with his emotions. The fact that he was unable to communicate may have had a lasting effect, isolating him from society even more as he may be unable to trust or talk to anyone about his feelings.
Case Study two also features a clear lack of good communication. The first barrier is with Mr Norton, who had recently had a stroke, resulting in him struggling to speak clearly and if he does speak, it is usually slurred causing a barrier for the message to be decoded.
One big issue with this case study is the lack of communication between the carers and the community centre. They expected 10-15 people, however an extra 10 people turned up to the coffee morning, meaning that they weren’t prepared to cater for everybody there. This shows that there was a lack of communication between the carers and the community centre. When dealing with elderly people from a residential home, the majority of them require certain things to help them with everyday life. The fact that they were “squashed into their seats” shows that there was a lack of care for the service users and the fact that they were uncomfortable. Mr Norton also did not get to sit with his friends and for an elderly person this would have been a huge issue as it is plausible to suggest that he rarely got to socialise with his friends outside of the residential home and perhaps looked forward to it. It is plausible to argue that because he is “not going to any more coffee mornings” he may exclude himself from all social events just to prevent himself from any distress. This will have a negative impact in the long run as he may begin to feel isolated from society.
Mr Norton also had a sensory impairment, his eyesight, which the workers should have been all notified about to avoid making the mistake that was leaving him behind. The case study states that his glasses “don’t always help” which shows that there is maybe an issue with communication between Mr Norton and his carers, he may need new glasses but is unable to tell them. Due to the fact that he couldn’t see his carer waving at him to say they were leaving meant that there was a barrier where the information should have been received. They should have assisted him to the minibus to ensure that he was not left behind and they should have also done a count of all the people they took to avoid any mistakes. This was a clear problem with organisation as well as communication.
When he had been left behind, Mr Norton could not “make himself understood” resulting in him becoming agitated. No one could understand his slurred words which prevented his message from being decoded. The care workers at the residential home would be aware of his inability to speak clearly and should have organised a time in which they teach him, as well as other people in their care who were struggling to communicate, some basic sign language so that they can let the workers know if something is wrong or if they require some help. If this had happened, when Mr Norton was left behind he could have communicated the situation clearly to another carer, without getting frustrated and becoming distressed. The carers could have also provided Mr Norton and other people with communication difficulties with a communication passport which is a small personalised book that people who have difficulty speaking can carry with them to help health care workers understand their communication requirements.
He also missed his lunch that “he really looked forward to” and as a result had a different carer that he is not used to helping him eat. This indicates a lack of communication between the workers as new carer was not aware of his requirements and the fact that he had difficulty swallowing.
Case study three features examples of poor communication that impacts the service users. To begin, Mrs Piplacz was not fluent in English so consequently would have struggled to understand anything that was said in the meeting. The fact that she was attending English classes at the community centre suggests that there were other people present who also struggled to communicate in the language. The woman from the council has created many barriers to communication in this scenario, firstly by not respecting the various language needs and preferences that people such as Mrs Piplacz require. To make the meeting more effective they could have hired a translator. When a translator works with people, they become a part of the communication cycle, decoding the message for the people involved. For people who don’t use English as their first language, accessing health and social care and other services can be extremely difficult and they may sometimes, go without the help they require and there is a barrier in their communication. (Stretch and Whitehouse 2010)
Mrs Jones’ experience at the council meeting is also an example of poor communication. She is deaf in her right ear and requires a hearing aid in her left, which sometimes runs out of battery. Although not stated directly in this case study, it is plausible to assume that there was not a translator present. Due to this fact, Mrs Jones may have been unable to hear what the lady from the council was saying, causing a barrier to the communication as she was unable to decode the message. To accommodate Mrs Jones’s and other people’s needs, the community centre could have fitted in a loop system, which enables people who use hearing aids to hear sounds more clearly.
There is also a barrier in the written communication in this case study, which states that the PowerPoint presentation was in size 12 font, which would be extremely difficult to ready, especially for people with sensory impairments. The case study also states that is was a “bright sunny day and there are no curtains at the windows” which suggests that the people attending the meeting may not have been able to see the presentation at all, causing an environmental barrier that could have easily been corrected by simply putting curtains on the windows. For people with a language barrier, the lady from the council could have used more pictures and shorter sentences with bigger font. The case study also states that the leaflets were in “English in small font” which is a huge barrier for people with sensory impairments. Before the meeting, they should have taken into account people like Mrs Piplacz who weren’t fluent in English, and translated a leaflet into their preferred language.
Between workers, especially in a health care setting a language community forms in which they develop technical language or “jargon” that will need to be translated to any service users. When communicating with service users, workers will generally speak informally, however it is important that they make sure they are not using technical language and being misunderstood as this will create a barrier in the conversation. (Stretch and Whitehouse 2010)
However in this case study, the leaflets were written heavily with “jargon and acronyms” which shows that the council did not take into account the fact that the community may not understand the language completely, which consequently resulted in a communication barrier. Due to the defective communication in the meeting, the “leaflets are left on the chairs and no-one has stayed to ask any questions” which illustrates the fact that the people who attended didn’t really understand what was being told to them and that it didn’t benefit them in any way. It is reasonable to imply that this may have lasting effects on the people who attended as they will not know how to go about applying for a grant for loft insulation, resulting in them paying more for their heating bills.
To conclude, all of these case studies demonstrate how poor communication from professionals can have a negative effect on the service users. Poor communication can have lasting effects on service users, not only emotionally but in some cases physically which is why it is essential to make sure you cater for everyone’s communication requirements such as language preferences. If there is good communication this will make the service users feel valued and comfortable in their environment, but if the communication is poor it may affect the person’s self-esteem and result in them being less willing to use healthcare in the future.
Stretch, B. and Whitehouse, M. (2010) Health and Social Care Level 3. 1st edn. Essex: Pearson Education Limited.