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Barriers To Communication In Health And Social Care Paper

Words: 2154, Paragraphs: 37, Pages: 8

Paper type: Essay , Subject: Communication Barriers

Chosen Setting – Community Centre

P3 – Describe the barriers to communication in health and social care and their effects on service users

Why does communication go wrong?

Communication goes wrong when the communication cycle does not work, this can be due to many reasons such as the meaning of a message is not clear, people not willing to listen or when unfamiliar terms or language are used. In this I will outline the different barriers to communication and how to overcome these.

Barriers to communication

It’s vital to be effective at communicating if you are a health and social worker. However, there are sometimes barriers that stop this communication, so you must be able to understand and overcome them.

P3 – Describe the barriers to communication and their effects on service users

Environmental barriers

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In order to communicate effectively, everyone needs to feel safe and comfortable in their environment.

Lighting

If the setting has bad lighting, then it can be difficult to make sense of signs or other peoples facial expressions if you can’t see the person. For example, it’s important to have good lighting in a nursery to enable the children and staff to view each other and see what is going on, to ensure safety. Also, in summer, if the sun is obscuring an individual’s views as it is shining through the windows, it can have a negative effect on the activities taking place.

Seating and room layout

Another environmental barrier to communication is seating. A room may have awkward seating positions, or not enough seats available, which could result in a group of people not feeling comfortable, so they will be unable to communicate. For example, people may feel uncomfortable if a person is too close or far away when communicating. Another factor is that is an individual is in a wheel chair, the desk at a reception may be too high and may not be able to see over this. This will make this individual feel unvalued and not important which will reduce their self-esteem and confidence, which will consequently have a negative impact on their health and well-being.

External noise

When communicating, it can be distracting when there is lots of noise surrounding them, to communicate with other individuals. For example, in a nursery setting if there is a meeting with a child’s parents it would be taken place in a small room where the conversation cannot be overheard. This is in particular difficult for individuals with hearing impairments, as they already have difficulties trying to hear and understand what people are saying to them, and eternal noise only makes this harder for them.

Lack of space

If there is inadequate seating available or not enough space for everyone in the centre, then some individuals may feel excluded or left out. For example, if an individual is in a wheelchair, the centre may not have adequate space available and the individual will feel excluded and undervalued. It’s important to make sure that everyone in the setting is inclusive in the activities so that they can make eye contact to enable them to communicate. If there is a lack of space for an individual that is in a wheelchair they won’t feel included and could begin to feel isolated, which will lead to decreased self-esteem and confidence which affects the quality of their care, as they may be less inclined to get involved in conversations due to feeling undervalued.

P4 – How can the environmental barriers be overcome?

In order to overcome these barriers, and ensure that the communication is effective, small changes can be made to improve communication for everyone.

To overcome the lighting barrier, poor lighting can be replaced with brighter lighting to ensure that individuals with visual impairments are able to see any activities that they are taking part in, and able to see other individuals that they are communicating with fully, to avoid them not being able to take part. This would result in them feeling isolated and they could have lower confidence and self-esteem, which would have a negative impact on the quality of their care and the effectiveness of any future conversations.

In order to overcome an external noise barrier, rooms could be sound proofed so that, for example, if an individual wanted to talk to a manager or member of staff in another room they would not be distracted, as this could make them less likely to talk to the other individual. Also, background noise could be reduced by creating a designated, quiet area away from activities to aid individuals with hearing impairments who would want to take part in one-to-one conversations with other individuals. Carrying out these changes will make the individuals with difficulties feel more included and valued and more likely to take part in conversations, as they will feel more confident.

Physical barriers

An example of a physical barrier is sensory deprivation. This is someone that cannot understand or pass on information to another individual due to a sensory impairment. For example, a visual or hearing loss could mean that the staff cannot communicate in the preferred way, so the individual that has the impairment cannot communicate. This could result in important information being lost and the individual will have a lower quality of care, which will consequently have a significant impact on their health and well-being.

Another physical barrier is a health issue. When an individual is ill, it reduces the individual’s ability to communicate. An example of a health issue is Parkinson’s; this illness can cause the individual to slur their speech or find it difficult to control the speed of their speech. This would prevent the individual from passing on information to a member of staff or another individual.

P4 – How can the physical barriers be overcome?

One way the physical barriers can be overcome is making sure that staff use the individuals preferred form of communication to avoid information being lost resulting in the communication being ineffective. One way that this can occur is by displaying signs clearly to aid individuals with more severe communication difficulties to ensure that they are still able to communicate. Another way to overcome this is by fitting electronic devices, to aid individuals with hearing impairments, such as using hearing aids so that the individual can listen to what individuals are saying to them, and making sure that they can then pass on information to other people, so that they are still able to take part in discussions.

Language barriers

When communicating, there may be several language barriers to communication.

Slang – the service user may use language that not everyone understands (different regions have different forms of slang) Slang is fine in informal situations but not when formal situations are taking place

Dialect – Regional differences may cause different areas to use different words for everyday objects. This can cause confusion and misunderstanding between individuals

Acronyms – When using written communication, some individuals may shorten words to initials which not everyone will understand

Cultural differences – In different countries the same thing, such as eye contact, can mean the same thing. For example, eye contact is considered ok in western culture, but it is seen as rude in East Asia.

English as second language – an individual that does not have English as their first or preferred language, this may be a barrier because the staff and service users may not be able to communicate with each other, and important information could be lost.

P4 – How can language barriers be overcome?

In order to overcome these barriers small changes can be made to improve communication for people. For example, in the home for individuals that have English as their second language, multilingual signs and posters can be put up to display everyday objects and signs clearly, to ensure that the individuals with this barrier can understand other individuals fully. Also, another way this barrier can be overcome is by making sure that staff use the individuals preferred language, which can be carried out by using an interpreter or translator. In addition, the home could invest in training for certain members of staff, or by hiring staff outside of the home so that individuals who do not have English as their first language can still partake in conversations, which could boost their confidence and make them more likely to join in discussions.

Social Isolation

Another factor that affects communication is social isolation. For example, if people are in distress, they may find it harder to communicate, it can cause an inability to listen properly, which could result in a person misinterpreting or not understanding what is being said. Also, a lack of confidence can be a barrier to communication, as people may not want, or be able to ask questions to seek clarification, as they do not have much confidence. Furthermore, another part of social isolation is intimidation, when an individual is intimidated by someone else, it will make them unable to concentrate, which will result in them being not able to hear or understand what anyone is saying to them. Also, they will be reluctant to ask questions for clarification, as they will not feel comfortable.

M2 – explain how measures have been implemented to overcome barriers to communication, with reference to a selected case

center12065Case Study

Craig is a 20-year-old man with mild learning difficulties. He attends the community centre two days a week to learn new skills and have help from staff applying for part time jobs. The rest of the week he attends the local college where he is completing a level 2 course. He is partially sighted and at times struggles to communicate effectively with staff and other users at the centre who don’t seem to understand his needs. The community centre is old and the floors often very uneven and for this reason he finds the centre quite poorly lit and the signs difficult to read. He attends the centre because he feels isolated at home and this gives him a good chance to meet other people of his own age. His learning difficulties have meant he has struggled with forming friendships in the past.

00Case Study

Craig is a 20-year-old man with mild learning difficulties. He attends the community centre two days a week to learn new skills and have help from staff applying for part time jobs. The rest of the week he attends the local college where he is completing a level 2 course. He is partially sighted and at times struggles to communicate effectively with staff and other users at the centre who don’t seem to understand his needs. The community centre is old and the floors often very uneven and for this reason he finds the centre quite poorly lit and the signs difficult to read. He attends the centre because he feels isolated at home and this gives him a good chance to meet other people of his own age. His learning difficulties have meant he has struggled with forming friendships in the past.

 

In the setting there have been multiple changes to overcome the barriers to Craig’s care.

Partially sighted

Craig is an individual at the centre that is partially sighted so small changes have been made to assist him with this. For example, posters and signs around the setting have been increased in size, whilst also using pictures (which is also helpful for his mild learning difficulties) to enable him to see everyday words and signs. Furthermore, there are also staff that have been introduced to the centre who are able to use Braille, so that Craig is now able to communicate more effectively without having the barrier of staff not understanding his needs, due to being unable to communicate in his preferred way.

Floors are uneven

To overcome the barrier of uneven floors, which is not necessarily relevant for Craig, the centre has been adapted to help solve this issue. The floors have been levelled and facilities for individuals that are in wheelchairs have been built to overcome the barrier of uneven floors. This has helped to make the centre safer, and help individuals to communicate more, as they can now attend more activities as the floors are no longer uneven. Consequently, this has increased Craig’s confidence and self-esteem as he can now communicate with more people, which helps to create a better quality of care and effective communication for everyone involved in the care.

Poorly lit and signs difficult to read

In the centre, the uneven floors and poor lighting have made signs difficult to read for individuals like Craig, who are partially sighted. Therefore, the centre has invested in higher quality lighting, which has made the signs clearer for individuals to read. This could then enable individuals to take part in activities at different places, which before they may not have been able to read what room these activities were taking place in. This has helped Craig to feel less isolated as he can take part in activities and make new friends, which he has struggled with in the past.

D2 – evaluate the effectiveness of measures taken to remove barriers to communication, with reference to a case

Environmental

In the

Physical

Social isolation

About the author

This sample paper is crafted by Elizabeth. She studies Communications at Northwestern University. All the content of this paper is just her opinion on Barriers To Communication In Health And Social Care and can be used only as a possible source of ideas and arguments.

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