The functional level of literacy, numeracy and communication skills are the minimum standards required for you to be able to carry out your role effectively.
You don’t need to be a genius but you will need to be able to read, write, speak and listen to a reasonable standard and be able to perform basic maths.
Many people need extra help to attain and maintain the required levels of functional skills and organisations understand this and will often provide support.
This is your level of reading and writing. The importance of this skill cannot be understated in a health and social care setting. You must be able to understand and comprehend things that your read and similarly must be able to make yourself understood by others using the written word.
Some things that you may need to do as part of your role that require good literacy skills are:
- Reading & writing care plans
- Reading company policies
- Reading letters and emails
- Keeping records e.g. MAR sheets, money sheets, communications book
- Writing risk assessments
You won’t need to be an expert at calculus or trigonometry but you should be able to manage simple arithmetic (even if using a calculator) and have a good understanding of some basic mathematical concepts such as percentages, fractions, measurements, decimals etc.
You will use your numeracy skills every day in an adult care setting. Some tasks that require good numeracy skills are:
- Balance checking (counting client’s money)
- Booking client’s money in and out
- Measuring medication dosage
- Measuring cooking ingredients
- Checking you’ve been paid correctly
You will need to ensure that you can communicate well with others including the individuals you support, their family, your co-workers, managers and other professionals. This means ensuring that you understood and that you listen to and understand others.
Some individuals may have specific communication needs that you will have to adapt to. For example they may need to see your face so that they can read your lips or require extra time to process information you give them. This will be documented in their care plan.