People communicate to extent out to another person, to reach them and make them understand what they want to tell them. We communicate to pass on information, whether it is to chat with a friend, pass on information to a college or engage a service user through their given form of communication.
In a social care setting communication with a service user is an integral part of their care. If a service user does not understand what is being said to them or vice versa it can lead to misunderstandings and serious problems. It will also affect the wellbeing of the service user and can lead to challenging behaviour.
When you meet someone for the first time and you engage in conversation you not only speak but your whole body communicates with facial expression, body language and eye contact.
When you meet a new service user for the first time a basic care plan will be in place which will include information on how the individual best communicates. This information is collected from the service users parents, carers, social worker, doctors, speech therapist and the service user themselves before they start their first session.
Factors to consider are heating and lighting in your surroundings, if it is too cold a service user may just retreat into themselves, rather than communicate and if it is too hot can cause health problems and challenging behaviour. If it is too dark or bright the same can happen.
If the venue they are at is too noisy they may not be able to hear properly or if it is too busy and they use sign language they may not be seen properly. Also sometimes service users do not get along with everybody which is part of life and this can lead to people becoming withdrawn. They also may not feel very well or if they suffer from a condition it may be that that is making them withdrawn. Another factor which must not be forgotten is abuse, which can cause a person behave differently and their manner of communication. They can become withdrawn but also they can also become more extrovert.
For good communication you need to have:
in position facing the person
do not invade their personal space
have relaxed none tense body language
relaxed facial expression
eye contact (unless using sign language)
wait until the person has stopped talking – do no try to finish their sentences for them
if using sign language always say the word as well as signing
if using PEK cards always get the person to follow the words with their finger as they are being spoken. Always speak the words you are communicating to the person as well as following them with your finger.
When communicating with a service user you can visually monitor their reactions to your communication. By their reactions you can see if they have understood what you have just communicated to them. It is important that we get it right provide a safe and diverse environment for the service users to engage in and enjoy. Without correct communication methods the service user will feel isolated and alone and this can lead to challenging behaviour and dangerous situations.
Individuals from different backgrounds or cultures often use different languages or dialects. Also different words or phrases have different meanings and also body language and gestures are received differently. These must all be investigated and identified before a new service user joins the service and procedures adopted to prevent any miscommunication.
Barriers to effective communication and how to overcome them are:
Physical – Hearing, visual, mobility and physical disabilities and if the person is unwell or in pain. Ensure your person is in a comfortable position for their wellbeing, the noise level is low enough for them to hear and they have their glass on if they wear them and they are clean and the lighting is correct. Check for...
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