Standard 6 of the Care Certificate deals with all forms of Communication.
It explores why effective communication in a health and social care setting and looks at meeting individual’s communication needs as well as reducing barriers to communication.
The importance of confidentiality is also discussed.
The information on this page has been updated and quality assured for 2023.
Learning Outcomes & Assessment Criteria
- 6.1 Understand the importance of effective communication at work
- 6.2 Understand how to meet the communication and language needs, wishes and preferences of individuals
- 6.3 Understand how to promote effective communication
- 6.4 Understand the principles and practices relating to confidentiality
- 6.4a Describe what confidentiality means in relation to their role
- 6.4b List any legislation and agreed ways of working to maintain confidentiality in day-to-day communication
- 6.4c Describe situations where information, normally considered to be confidential, might need to be passed on
- 6.4d Describe who they should ask for advice and support about confidentiality
NOTE: Many of these assessment criteria are the same or similar to the communication unit in the Level 2 Diploma in Care. Therefore, many of the links on this page are directed to this section.
Care Certificate Standard 6 Workbook Answers
Here, you will find exemplary answers for all the questions in the workbook for standard 6 of The Care Certificate – Communication.
The blank workbook for standard 1 can be downloaded from the Skills for Care website (PDF format)
Choose five different types of communication and describe how and when they might be used.
- Verbal Communication – speaking and listening are used to communicate to individuals, explain treatments, identify needs, wishes and preferences and request consent. Tone and volume should be appropriate, and slang, jargon, complicated vocabulary and accents/dialects should be reduced or avoided where possible. And, of course, both individuals must speak the same language. Verbal communication can be adapted to the individual’s needs. Active listening should be used to reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings.
- Written Communication – used in reports, records and other official documentation to maintain a record of work-related activities. Handwriting should be legible. Records should be up-to-date, clear, concise and accurate. Forms should be filled in correctly.
- Makaton – often used to aid verbal communication with individuals with learning disabilities by using a series of simple gestures whilst conversing.
- Visual Aids – Also a popular communication tool for individuals with learning or sensory disabilities. Visual aids are pictures or objects that can be used to convey meaning. For example, a staff member could offer an individual a choice of activities by holding up a picture of a bowling ball and a picture of a DVD, and the individual would then point to the one they wanted to do.
- Braille – braille is a form of ‘written‘ communication that individuals with visual impairments use to read and write texts. It consists of a series of raised bumps that represent letters and symbols. Individuals can move their fingertips over the bumps to read using their sense of touch.
Use examples from your own workplace to describe how good and poor communication could affect relationships at work.
1. Examples of good communication affecting a work relationship
A manager ensures their staff know what they need to perform their job role competently and efficiently by providing all relevant information about their responsibilities and the clients in written form and supporting this with effective verbal communication. The staff are knowledgeable in their role, confident in their abilities and have assurances that if they are unsure of something, they can refer to the documentation or speak to their manager.
2. Examples of poor communication affecting a work relationship
A manager does not update an individual’s care plan and MAR sheet to show that they have recently been prescribed a course of antibiotics. The individual is not administered their antibiotics by staff, which results in their infection worsening and them having to go into hospital.
An individual misses dinner with their boyfriend because the date was not written in their diary or communicated verbally during the handover.
Imagine you are talking to an individual about a change to their care plan. During the conversation, which starts very relaxed, you notice that the person starts getting fidgety and avoiding eye contact. Their body language changes, they turn sideways on their chair so they no longer face you.
1. Why is it important that you notice the changes in the other person’s reactions?
The changes in reactions could indicate that the individual is not comfortable with the changes being made to their care or they do not understand them correctly. It could also indicated that they are uninterested.
2. Why is it important that you respond to the changes in the other person’s reactions?
It is essential to respond to these reactions so that you can establish the reasons for the changes in their behaviour and work with them to find a solution. If they do not understand fully, then it may be useful to try and explain them in a different way or use examples. If they are not happy with the changes, you would need to explain the reasons why the changes should be made and how it is beneficial to them or work in partnership with them to find other solutions or make a compromise. Being attentive to an individual’s needs also builds trust in the relationship.
Part i) Use the spider diagram to list four ways that can help you to establish an individual’s communication or language needs, wishes and preferences.
- By interacting with the individual using speech, gestures, facial expressions, visual prompts etc.
- By asking their family and friends
- By speaking to other professionals such as their nurse, social worker, speech and language therapist etc.
- By reading their care plan
Part ii) Describe how each of the above can help you to establish an individual’s communication and language needs, wishes and preferences.
- The individual may be able to tell you how they prefer to communicate, and you will get a ‘feel’ for how best to communicate with them
- Family and friends will usually have known the individual all their life, so they will have found out what works best when communicating with them
- Other professionals will have experience communicating with the individual, may have access to information on the individual’s historical communication needs and have expertise in communication in general
- An individual’s care plan should contain information on how best to communicate with them
Think of the different communication needs, wishes and preferences that individuals may have. Complete the diagram below to list at least six different styles or methods of communication that could help you when communicating with individuals. An example has been provided for you.
- Touch (to gain attention, to provide reassurance etc.)
- Verbal (speaking/listening)
- Written (reading/writing)
- Gestures (Makaton, British Sign Language etc.)
- Body language, eye contact and facial expressions
- Language, slang, jargon, accents and dialects
Activity 6.3a & 6.3b
Complete the table below to make a list of potential barriers to effective communication and describe ways to reduce the barrier. An example has been provided for you.
|1. Substance misuse
|If an individual’s behaviour is affected because of misuse of substances, I need to think carefully about how I will use my communication skills to make sure the individual is supported. If they are frustrated and angry I will need to use a calming tone of voice and relaxed body language
but maintain a safe distance
|2. High levels of background noise
|Ideally, move to a quieter environment or attempting to reduce the noise levels. If this is not possible, it may mean speaking louder so that the individual is able to hear you.
|Ideally both parties will be fluent in the same language. If not, interpretation or translation services may need to be employed.
|4. High levels of emotion
|Waiting for the individual to calm down and return to baseline levels of emotion. Using a calming voice tone.
|5. Cognitive difficulties and disabilities
|Keeping sentences short with minimal keywords. Using gestures, facial expressions and visual prompts/aids.
|6. Thick accent
|If you have a thick accent, learn to speak more clearly and try to reduce geographical nuances. If the individual has a thick accent, ask that they repeat things that you didn't quite understand.
During any conversation or discussion, you would like to know that you have got your point across to the other person or people, and that they know or understand what you mean. How could you check to make sure that the other person understands what you are saying?
An individual’s facial expressions and body language can indicate whether or not they understand you, so always observe the individuals when communicating with them. Misunderstandings can be reduced by asking an individual if they understand. If they say no, then try to explain it in a different way or use examples to clarify important points. If they say yes, ask them to explain it to you in your own words to ensure their comprehension. It can be useful to have a recap of the main points of a conversation at the end.
Think of an individual or group of individuals in your workplace that you might struggle to communicate with. Make sure you respect confidentiality by not using their name. Who could help you with information, support or services to communicate more effectively? How could they help?
The example from my place of work I have chosen is:
I work with an individual that can converse verbally day to day but has difficulty telling staff if something is bothering him or upsetting him. This appears to be due to shyness, not knowing how to initiate this kind of conversation and difficulty in communicating verbally when he is in a heightened emotional state. The individual has Fragile X syndrome, which results in a moderate learning disability and ASD.
I could find information and support or services from:
- Local health service
- National charities
- In-house clinical team
They could help me to:
I have requested information from a charity that supports individuals with Fragile X Syndrome as well as helping the individual get a referral from his GP to an NHS-funded speech and language therapist to investigate other forms of communication that may help him. I have also requested our in-house occupational therapist be involved.
In your own words, describe the meaning of confidentiality in relation to your job role. You might use your contract or job description to help you.
In my job role as Support Worker, confidentiality means:
Confidentiality means respecting the privacy of others and not sharing information that is personal to them without justifiable cause and preferably with their consent. As a health and social care worker, it is a very important and fundamental part of the job role to protect the confidentiality of the individuals I care for. This can include ensuring I cannot be overheard by others when talking about them, storing records and documentation securely and only passing information onto others with the individual’s consent (unless there are extenuating circumstances such as a safeguarding issue).
Familiarise yourself with your workplace’s agreed ways of working in relation to confidentiality. Complete the table below to list legislation and agreed ways of working to maintain confidentiality in your daily routines.
- Data Protection Act 2018 (inc GDPR)
- Human Rights Act 1998
- Freedom of Information Act 2000
Agreed Ways of Working
- Confidentiality Policy and Procedure
- Computer, Email and Internet Usage Policy and Procedure
- Archiving, Disposal and Storage of Records Policy and Procedure
- Access to Information Policy and Procedure
- Photographs Policy and Procedure
At times you may come across situations where you need to share confidential information, even if the individual doesn’t want you to. Give three examples of situations that might happen in your workplace where information might need to be passed on to other key people.
An individual discloses to you that they have been financially abused but does not wish you to tell anyone. You explain that you have to pass it on to your manager, safeguarding lead and possibly social services and the police. You should make it clear that you have a duty of care to pass this information to protect the individual and others.
An individual has been involved in an accident and needs hospital treatment. You pass on personal information, including medication and allergy information, to the paramedics that arrive on the scene.
If an individual tells you information that may lead to serious harm to others, you are legally obliged to pass this information on to the police and other relevant agencies.
Imagine one of the situations you have described in the last task happens whilst you are on duty. Who could you ask for advice and support about confidentiality? And how would they be able to help you?
- Manager – Your manager or supervisor can advise on the best action to take when a confidentiality dilemma occurs.
- Senior Staff – Similarly, senior and experienced staff can also offer guidance.
- Safeguarding Lead – Your organisation may have a safeguarding lead with specialist training and experience in safeguarding issues. They can offer support and take action.
- Police – The police can investigate any criminal activity that you report to them.
- Social Services – Social services must treat all safeguarding reports seriously and investigate them.
- Care Quality Commission (CQC) – The CQC will investigate all reports of abuse and neglect by care providers, including whistleblowing.