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Demonstrate ways to overcome barriers to communication

Qualification: Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care
Unit name: Communication in care settings
Learning outcome: 3. Be able to overcome barriers to communication
Assessment criteria: 3.3 Demonstrate ways to overcome barriers to communication

In the previous section, we talked about barriers to communication. To communicate effectively, it is important to understand how these barriers can be overcome.

Barriers that are a result of the environment should be overcome by making changes to the environment or changing the environment entirely. For example, if loud building work outside is making it difficult to hear one another, you may consider closing the windows. If the noise levels are still too loud, you may suggest moving to another meeting room on the other side of the building.

You should adapt your own communication methods to meet the individual’s needs. If the individual is a service user, their communication preferences should be documented in their care plan. Be aware of the way that you communicate – do not talk too fast or too slow, keep sentences concise and avoid slang or jargon. If you have a strong accent or dialect, try to tone it down a little.

For situational barriers, such as an individual being tired, hungry or agitated, you will need to support them to meet their needs before a meaningful conversation can begin. If they are hungry or thirsty, offer them food or drink. If they are agitated, comfort and reassure them. In some cases you may need to reschedule the meeting for a time when the individual is more receptive to communication – perhaps they need to sleep or need more time to process what is happening.