Developing Effective Communication in Health and Social Care

Effective Communication is a two-way process – sending the correct messages, which is correctly understood by the other person’s. Effective communication is very important within the Health and Social industry. Effective Communication allows a health care worker to perform their role effectively alongside their colleagues by developing supportive ties with the service users who come from different backgrounds, cultures and religions.

This report will look into more detail about communication, group interaction and how to overcome barriers.

Argyll’s Stages of Communication

The theory suggests that ideas are communicated, acted upon and reviewed. There are six stages but the hardest stage is the ‘decoding’ stage. Below are the stages which would be used in a nurse to patient situation:

* The first stage is when the idea occurs.

* The second stage is when the message is coded.

* The third stage is when the message is sent.

* The fourth stage is when the message is received.

* The fifth stage is when the message is decoded.

* The sixth and final stage is when the message is understood.

Tuckman’s Stages of Group Interaction

The Tuckman’s theory suggests that teams develop in stages. This is the forming of a team, the storming process (discussions and plans) norming (plans are being put into place) and performing (the team’s works together)

* Forming is when a group forms. (Pretending to get along or to get along with others) In which some members will be positive and polite and others will be anxious, simply because they haven’t worked out what work the team will involve. This stage is usually fairly short and sometimes only lasts a single meeting; this is when the members are introduced to one other. The main concepts of this stage are establishing base level expectations, identifying similarities and agreeing on common goals.

* Storming is attempting to resolve the issues by letting down politeness barriers and other barriers, attempting to get straight the issue even if temper flares up. It is important to build good relationships between the teams members. It is important to give support to those who feel less secure. Remain positive and in firm to challenges to your leadership or the teams goals. The main concepts of this stage are identifying power and control issues, gaining skills in communication and identifying resources.

* Norming is the development of trust, getting to know each other and the development of productivity. The main concept of this stage is members agreeing about roles and processes for problem solving.

* Performing is working in a group to achieve a common goal on a highly efficient and cooperative basis. The main concepts of this stage are achieving effective and satisfying results.

* Adjourning is the breaking up of a team. This is the stage to celebrate what they achieved from their goals.

Factors and barriers which influence communication and interpersonal interactions

There are a variety of factors and barriers which influence communication and interpersonal interactions. Below is three examples of factors and barriers which could affect communication and interpersonal interactions.

Setting and Environment

* The setting and environment which the service users are in influences how comfortable participates are. The more relaxed the service users are the better communication is used (the stages of communication in the Argyll’s theory) For example, a service provider is interviewing an applicant for a job. He or she could find it hard to concentrate if there was a set of unique items within the setting, this could distract the applicant. Also the temperature of the environment could affect the applicant’s communication. For example the applicant could get uncomfortable due to the heat and may worry about sweating. That causes the applicant to lose concentration and distracts them.

Lighting

* Lighting can also affect the way we communicate. If the lighting is too dark, this will affect the service providers and/or the service user’s communication because this will prevent facial expressions that can be seen. This will make it hard for face and facial expressions to be interpreted. A dimmed setting also causes a negative setting as it causes a ‘romantic scene’ which could make the service user uncomfortable. In contrast if the light was too bright this could cause lack of eye contact and prevents misunderstandings and lack of concentration.

Hearing

* If a service user has a hearing impairment it may be difficult for them to start conversation. This may cause the service user anxiety and low confidence due to them not being able to hear their own voice and/or they cannot hear what is happening in their surroundings. This could make the service user scared about engaging in conversation.

Strategies used in health and social care to overcome barriers to communication

The strategies below to overcome barriers to communication are the strategies to resolve the barriers bullet pointed above.

Setting and Environment

* A way to insure that a room is a suitable environment is to make sure that distractions in the environment and setting are removed such as attention-grabbing items and paintings that cause distraction within communication. Also to set the temperature at average so the service user is not too warm or too cold which could cause anxiety. However, sometimes the environment can have an effective way of communication. For example if there is a lack of communication at the beginning due to the service user not knowing what to talk about, the service provider could simply ask the service user about a painting to start communication and this helps the service user feel comfortable.

Lighting

* Overcoming a lighting barrier is simple. Provide a room which is simply not too bright or too dim. If conversation should be effectively communicated ensure that the environment is correctly lighted. As stated before too dim or too bright lighting can affect the way of communication by preventing face and facial expressions.

Hearing

* There are many ways to overcome hearing barriers in a health and social care setting. If a service user is deaf the service providers could provide them with a hearing aid. This allows deaf/partly deaf service users to hear conversation. Service provides must examine the hearing aid to ensure that it is on the correct configuration to prevent the service user from not hearing communication correctly. The hearing aid is a brilliant way to overcome the hearing barrier as it enables the service user to hear and therefore boast their confidence to enable them to engage in communication

Evaluation of the strategies used to overcome barriers within health and social care

As stated in the bullet points, hearing is one of the communication barriers within health and social care. It is also one of the most popular barriers. Hearing aids are commonly mostly used by people who have a hearing impairment. The hearing aid enables the user to hear properly and more clearly. If a service user does not have a hearing aid and the service provided cannot provide one is necessary to involve a translator. However unfortunately for the deaf there are lots of professionals who are not trained in BSL (sign language.) This is unfortunate because they would not able to overcome the barrier if they could not find someone who is trained in BSL.

It may be embarrassing and awkward for the service users if they cannot understand what the service provider is saying and this is very likely to be frustrating. Using a translator will benefit the deaf due to the communication and conversation being effective and also the service user they will able to communicate with someone who speaks their own language. Not all facilities provide translators and this causes a barrier not being able to be overcome. However many hospitals and GP’s have translators trained in BSL, so generally this is improving every day towards the future.

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