Identify barriers to communication

Qualification: Level 2 Diploma in Adult Care
Unit name: Communication in Care Settings
Learning outcome: 3. Be able to reduce barriers to communication
Assessment criteria: 3.1 Identify barriers to communication

To communicate effectively, it is important that you are able to identify and remove any barriers that may be having an adverse effect on your ability to communicate.


Some barriers to effective communication include:

  • Shyness or a lack of confidence or self-esteem – communicating with others may make an individual feel anxious, embarrassed or withdrawn
  • Complex sentences – long words or too many keywords in a sentence may make it difficult for an individual to understand
  • Lack of staff training – an individual may communicate using a method that care staff are not trained in (e.g. British Sign Language)
  • Lack of time – if care staff do not have the necessary time to speak to individuals and take a genuine interest in them, it can lead to a breakdown in communication
  • Staff not reading care plans – this can result in staff not understanding an individual’s communication needs
  • Language – not having a shared common language can make communication very difficult
  • Dialects/accents/jargon – strong dialects or excessive use of terms that an individual does not understand can make comprehension difficult
  • Heightened emotional state – if an individual is angry, aggressive, manic or even tired, it can be very difficult to communicate with them
  • Cultural differences – differences in acceptable behaviour between different cultures should be understood and catered for
  • Environment – this can include several aspects that are not conducive to effective communication including background noise, temperature, lighting, lack of space and lack of privacy

It is important that you are mindful of some of these barriers so that you can ensure that any communication you partake in is as effective as possible.

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