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Explain how to use communication skills to manage complex, sensitive, abusive or challenging situations and behaviours

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: 3.5 Explain how to use communication skills to manage complex, sensitive, abusive or challenging situations and behaviours

There may be times when you need to utilise your communication skills to manage complex, sensitive, abusive or challenging situations and behaviours. For example, if someone discloses to you that they have suffered abuse, a service user has had a bereavement or a family member of a service user is very angry about the way their loved one being cared for.

In these situations, it is essential to remain calm and keep your voice at a normal level and tone. Appearing panicked, angry or upset can escalate the situation.

The first step is to support the individual to get to a baseline where effective communication can begin. If the individual is angry, this may mean inviting them to sit down in a private area to discuss the matter. If they are upset, you may need to just listen to them compassionately. If they are disclosing abuse, you should be sensitive and reassure them that you will do everything you can to protect them.

Listening intently and taking what they are saying seriously and compassionately will be key skills. Ensure that you ask them to clarify any points that you do not understand fully and repeat back what they have said in your own words to avoid misunderstandings.