Unit name: Communication in Care Settings
Learning outcome: 3. Be able to reduce barriers to communication
Assessment criteria: 3.2 Demonstrate how to reduce barriers to communication in different ways
In the previous section, we looked at some of the barriers that could have a negative impact on effective communication.
Next, we will look at some possible ways that these barriers could be reduced.
- Shyness or a lack of confidence or self-esteem – promote the individual’s wellbeing and create opportunities to bond with the individual and become familiar with them. You should understand that this may be a long-term process.
- Complex sentences – keep sentences short with a small number of keywords and give the individual time to process the information
- Lack of staff training – management must ensure staff are trained to perform their role effectively. As a care worker, you could express concerns and suggest training to your manager.
- Lack of time – management should ensure that care staff have the time to perform their role effectively. If you feel you do not have enough time to communicate with the individuals that you support, you should raise your concern with your manager.
- Staff not reading care plans – management should have processes in place to ensure that staff read the care plans of the individuals that they support. As a care worker, it is your responsibility to ensure that you do this.
- Language – non-verbal communication could be used or the individual could be enrolled on an ESL (English as a Second Language) course. Translator or interpreter services could be obtained.
- Dialects/accents/jargon – care staff should try to speak clearly and not use jargon unless it is absolutely necessary. Over time, familiarity with accents and dialects will improve communication.
- Heightened emotional state – be empathetic and understanding and help the individual to calm down. Or suggest rescheduling for another time.
- Cultural differences – be mindful of the culture of the individual’s that you support by reading their care plan or speaking to them about their preferences.
- Environment – ensure the environment is comfortable. For example, keep the room tidy, ensure there is somewhere private to go to if needed, ensure the heat is not too high or too low, reduce background noise (e.g. by closing a window).
By reducing the barriers to communication, it is much more likely that your communication will be effective.