Recognise the effect of barriers and influences on communication
Communication can be blocked if individual differences are not understood. There are 3 ways in which this happens; a person can not see, hear or receive the message, a person can not make sense of the message, a person misunderstands the message (Core Themes in Health and Social Care, page 6, Beryl Stretch). These can all make communication ineffective and often impossible but can all be overcome with a different method or communication aids. ‘A barrier gesture is any action, behaviour or physical arrangement (such as room layout) that discourages the other person from feeling comfortable, thereby reducing their ability to communicate positively and effectively’ (Communication Skills for Health and Social Care, Bernard Moss, page 41). The main barriers to communication are environmental, social, inappropriate language and behaviour.
Poor environment can cause barriers to communication and cause many issues when trying to speak to someone. Insufficient seating can be a problem if a care worker needed to sit down with a service user face to face. The issue may be that there may not be enough chairs, they might be positioned wrong and there is no room to move them or having to sit side by side. This can be overcome by relocating to a different room with adequate seating arrangements, checking the room situation beforehand and if there isn’t another room, rearranging to speak at a later time or date. The care worker may need to think carefully about furniture arrangement and spaces where they will meet with the service user. The room layout can give off a certain vibe and the care worker must ensure that the vibe is welcoming and open but that also holds boundaries for behaviour; it must be reinforced that some behaviour is unacceptable and may put the service user and others around them at risk. Background noise in and around the room can disrupt the flow of conversation; the service user may find it hard to hear what is being said and it would be even more difficult if they have a hearing impairment. This is particularly problematic if the matter being discussed is very important to the wellbeing of the service user. To conquer the problem, the care worker and service user can once again relocate to a room that is considerably quieter or attempt to quieten the other service users or turn down the TV or radio. This would definitely benefit those with a hearing impairment; the message would be much clearer. Poor lighting would cause a problem if the message was written or there were contracts involved to be signed; the service user may have a sight impairment and would not be able to see what they were reading or signing. They may also find it hard to see the person they are talking to properly, this could cause a problem if the care worker used sign language or the service user needed to read their lips. Moving to another room or improving the lighting would be beneficial to the service user. They would then be able to distinguish facial expressions, gestures, body language and sign language if it is being used. They will also be able to see the message and anything they need to sign. Stairs may create a problem for wheelchair users especially if there were no lifts to that specific floor or they were broke. Moving to a room on the ground floor or moving to a floor where a lift was accessible would solve their problem. If another room is not available, the care worker may have to rearrange for another time or date.
Social issues are often the cause of communication becoming ineffective. Emotional problems such as the service user being distressed can stop the message from being relayed. For example, the service user may be upset or angry about losing their independence when entering a residential care home and will not co-operate with their care worker to establish an effective care plan. To overcome this, the care worker must be empathic and...
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