This page is designed to answer the following questions:
- 6.1b Describe how communication affects relationships at work (Care Certificate, Standard 6: Communication)
- 1.2 Explain how effective communication affects all aspects of your own work (Level 2 Diploma in Care, Communication in care settings)
- 1.2 Explain how communication affects relationships in the work setting (Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care, Promote communication in care settings)
NOTE: This page has been quality assured for 2021 as per our Quality Assurance policy.
Communication is very important in a health and social care setting and effective communication can have a positive effect on all aspects of your own work, particularly the relationships you have with the individuals that you support, their family, your colleagues and other professionals.
Communication with colleagues and professionals
By communicating effectively with your co-workers, managers and other professionals, you will be ensuring that the messages, instructions, questions and ideas that you are articulating are received and understood correctly by the other party. Similarly, you will also ensure that you correctly understand what is being communicated to you by others.
Perhaps more than in any other industry, health and social care requires teams and professional partners to work together as a single cohesive unit. Effective communication supports everyone to be involved, minimises mistakes and produces the best outcomes for the individuals that are receiving care.
In addition, health and social care requires a lot of record-keeping which must be accurate and legible (by law) so good reading and writing skills are a must. If things go wrong, sometimes the only way to back up your actions is by the documentation that you have written. It is also important to know when NOT to share information in order to maintain confidentiality.
Communication with individuals and their families
Effective communication is also critical to the individuals that you support and their loved ones.
If you are unable to understand one another then you will not be able to provide them with adequate support because you will be unable to understand their true needs, preferences or wishes. There may also be other reasons why an individual may need to communicate with you.
Some clients may not be verbal and so you will need to learn to communicate with them using other means such as facial expressions, Makaton or gestures. You may even need to become familiar with their language, dialect or speech nuances if English is not their first language.
Communication and relationships
Communication can have a considerable impact on the working relationships that you have with clients, their family and friends, co-workers, managers and other professionals. If you can be clear, concise and, where necessary, assertive and ensure that the messages that you want to convey are understood correctly, then over time you will build strong bonds with those that you work with. Mutual trust and respect and the ability to work towards common goals together is a direct result of effective communication and leads to strong and meaningful relationships.
Conversely, poor communication skills can lead to poor relationships. It can result in misunderstandings, frustration and ineffective care due to essential information not being passed on.
One of the great things about being a care worker is that it opens up opportunities to improve all aspects of your communication and become a better speaker, listener, reader and writer. And these skills can be transferred to your personal life as well.