Effective communication is essential in all health and social care settings as part of building and maintaining good patient-professional relationships. These skills help both patient and professional to learn about each other and understand each other, so that they can for that reason meet each other’s needs. This includes language at an appropriate level and using methods of communication that the individual is comfortable with. A type of communication used in health and social care is verbal, this is used to communicate by one person speaking and the other person listening.
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Verbal communication is the skill to use words to put forward ideas, thoughts and feelings to another person in a variety of environments. Effective listening however, is much harder than speaking and requires a lot more skill than just waiting for the other person to finish talking. “ Communication is the simplest way to really get a sense of how a person is coping and what steps you need to take to improve their health and wellbeing” (https://www. stonebridge. uk. com/blog/health-and-social-care/effective-communication-skills-in-health-and-social-care [accessed 16. 01. 2018]).
In some cases, barriers may be experienced as the professional tries to communicate, this can be caused by a lack of understanding between the professional and the patient. People that need to use verbal communication between each other are professionals within the health and social care setting, this can take place when they are having a conversation about a patient, they need to make sure that they take it in turns to talk whilst the other one listens for effective communication to take place.
They must use effective questioning and be clear to ensure that they both have the best interests of the patient. The reason why professionals must communicate with one another within the health and social care setting is that it is essential for establishing effective and respectful relationships between the professionals, ensuring that they undertake assessments professionally and effectively, making decisions on the patient, including their results and making certain the continuity of their care and to be able to discuss and talk about the best treatment for patients and offer reassurance.
Another type of communication used in health and social care is non-verbal, Makaton is used to communicate with individuals that can’t or won’t speak or listen to you, Makaton which “ uses signs and symbols to help people communicate and are based on gestures” (https://singinghands. co. uk/about/what-is-makaton/ [accessed 16. 01. 2018]). Makaton is designed to aid the development of spoken language. Their non-verbal communication will help professionals understand their needs.
Behaviour and changes in their behaviour are key in identifying and treating issues and being able to read body language will support diagnosis and treatment. Makaton communication may take place within the health and social care setting between a nurse and a child with hearing difficulties. The nurse will have to ensure that she maintains eye contact as this conveys interest and may encourage the child to show interest. The human face is very expressive and so the nurse will have to ensure that she has a happy, kind and caring expression on her face to gain reassurance and not look aggressive as this could frighten the child.
Facial expressions are used to convey meaning when communicating and is perhaps the most important way to channel emotional information. The reasons why a nurse would have to communicate to a child within the health and social care setting are to reassure the child and make them feel safe, especially if they are staying in hospital. The child might want to know about certain things, for example what food they might be eating, so it is important that the child gets the answers so that they can be relaxed and not get distressed.
Gestures is a method of communication used in the health and social care setting, this is used to communicate with individuals to help the professional understand what a person is trying to communicate “ there are certain common gestures that most people automatically recognise, but it is important to understand cultural norms so as not to unintentionally cause offence.
For example, thumbs-up can mean that all is well and is perfectly acceptable” (http://www. abrahamdarbyacademy. org. uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Effective-Communication-3. pdf [accessed 16. 0. 2018]) A wave of the hand signifies hello and the thumbs up gesture can mean that all is well. Gestures may take place within the health and social care setting between a professional and a person with a hearing impairment. Demonstrating a gesture may help the professional understand a feeling or mood and a gesture such as the professional nodding their head can indicate to a patient that they are listening.
The reasons for gestures in communicating within the health and social care setting are that they can be used to show how the patient is feeling and/or concerns and can show the professional the patient’s emotional well-being as you can often tell from these what an individual is feeling. Medical jargon and technical words should be avoided unless the professional is sure that the individual will understand and be comfortable with it.