There are a myriad of factors that should be considered when promoting effective communication.
The most obvious is the method used to communicate. This could be verbal, sign language, makaton, pictorial aids or others but should be in line with an individual’s personal preferences.
The environment is another factor to consider as an improper environment could make an individual feel uncomfortable. Are they too hot or too cold? Is the lighting too dim or too bright? Are there any distractions (e.g. T.V, radio, other people)? Does the individual feel safe? Adjusting these environmental factors could have a positive or negative affect on an individual’s ability to communicate effectively. By understanding and learning about an individual’s personal environmental preferences, it is possible to create the optimum conditions to communicate with them.
Demonstrating active listening is another factor that helps to promote effective communication. Active listening involves focusing attention on the person doing the speaking, listening to what they say and then repeating back to them in your own words what you think they have just said. This ensures that the listener fully comprehends what the speaker is saying and can prevent misunderstandings. It is also a great tool to encourage an individual to open up more as they will be aware that you are listening to what they have to say.
Method. How effective is this method?
Speak to/Observe the Individual. In most cases, I believe this to be one of the most effective ways to communicate with an individual. By striking up a conversation with an individual, I can usually assess whether they are able to use the English language to communicate and how accomplished they are with it. That is not to say that this always works – it does have limitations. An individual may choose not to converse with me, in which case I may not be able to ascertain if they cannot use verbal language or they are choosing not to use it. If an individual does choose to talk to me, I am able to assess how comfortable they are with this method of communication and adjust my own language accordingly. If an individual is non-verbal, I may still be able to find some way of communicating with them, perhaps by using signs, body language or pictorial aids.
Read their Care Plan. All Care Plans should have a section on communication, which describes an individual’s preferred communication methods. This is a very effective method of finding out the communication and language requirements of an individual as the Care Plan will have been written following consultation multiple people that are involved in the individual’s life; this includes the individual themselves, their support staff, their family/relations/friends and the multi-disciplinary team.
Speak to the Individual’s Friends/Family/Relations. Family and friends are often the closest people to an individual and have known them for the longest period of time. Consequently, they will understand their communication needs more than anybody else and be able to provide useful pointers on how to communicate or communicate more effectively with them.
Effective communication is very important in an adult social care setting and can have a positive affect on relationships.
For example, communicating empathy when an individual is upset can make them feel cared for and understood, resulting in a deeper connection. Ultimately this builds trust between individuals, creating a more open, transparent and honest relationship.
Accurate and legible record-keeping is another very important form of communication in this setting as it ensures that everyone involved in the care of an individual is well-informed and up-to-date with the individual’s current and changing needs. When everybody is working in the same way, it creates a harmonious and stable atmosphere where an individual, their carers and other professionals can feel happy, confident and satisfied with their day-to-day tasks.
People communicate for many different reasons. Socially, people communicate for pleasure, to ask questions or to offer choices. Communication can also be used to express a need or a feeling to others as well as share ideas and debate issues. In addition, communication can be used to show compassion and empathy towards others.