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Communication in social care

Communication in social care

How is communication important within Care?

Communication is important in every industry, but it is so essential within Health and Social Care. We are constantly starting and developing professional relationships with clients, residents, relatives, loved ones, colleagues, professionals, companies and communities. Where do the difficulties lay within communicating? How do we create clearer, more effective communication within our teams? Although this may be an ongoing goal we all strive for, we can start to look at the basis for these aims below.

How communication influences the Health and Social Care sector?

In a general sense, communication can include any means of communicating with care clients, residents in care homes, loved ones and relatives of those we care for, as well as professionals like doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, social workers and then there’s our regulators’ like CQC. 

This means we are required to deal with a variety of situations and environments and ensure we are adequately able to do so! Communication needs will vary between all of these roles so we need to be adaptable and approachable in our methods. 

As we all know, care is an environment where empathy and understanding is always key. It’s what we keep at the heart of what we do and it’s equally important in our means of communicating. Empathy can branch out into compassion, sympathy, patience and kindness and developing these emotional skills are imperative to carers, and the care environment as a whole. It is also especially important for us to be delivering the best person centered care.

What factors are involved?

Confidentiality is so important within the care sector as we are often dealing with personal details and information. Upholding the privacy of clients and residents is paramount, whilst we ensure that dignity remains, and people are encouraged to be as independent as possible. Being mindful of these details and information must be a priority, in order to build trust and retain professional relationships.

Good communication is a huge factor in building successful relationships in a professional setting. When trust is built, clients and residents will feel more at ease and it makes a genuine positive difference in how care is delivered and received. There can be instances where difficult information needs to be shared and this needs to be done in a sensitive considerate manner with kindness and empathy at all times. 

Listening is another important factor when considering great communication. People can thrive when they feel listened to and understood by those around them. 

Continuity within care is another issue to take seriously, whether that’s when working with colleagues or other professionals. We spend a lot of time reporting and recording information so accuracy is key and communicating these important parts are vital. Making decisions as a team, with open communication and community works best and is something we strive for in the workplace and working environment. Care plans also change often, so effective communication can help smooth transitions between changes and to keep everyone in the loop.

How can we improve communication within the care sector?

Communication can take a variety of forms, for example:

  • Verbal, spoken language
  • Written communication
  • Non verbal e.g body language or hand gestures
  • Sign language, braille and makaton

Training is another way to improve effectiveness through communication and to gain skills. Regular training will enhance and remind people of these skills. Employee engagement also works well towards improving overall employee wellbeing!

There are also handy tools to help with communication within teams. One of our patrons, Umbrella Insight is a cloud based confidential platform which encourages effective communication, through simple processes. This includes polling, customizable set up and templates, encouraging social feedback, sign posting, employee well being and engagement, employee retention and training sections.

Neil from Umbrella Insight speaks on how important communication is within Care:

1. Less is more – make it easy, don’t drown the recipient in information. It’s just more to read and much of the time unnecessary.

2. Make it accessible – if communications are digital you standard a better chance of not only getting to your audience but them responding.

3. Ask only what you can do something about. i.e. don’t ask onerous questions whereby their response makes no difference. An example is you ask their age or gender. If you are not going to do anything with this information…. don’t ask it!

4. Allow for anonymity. Insisting on contact details can lead to recipients not being honest with their opinions, or they just don’t bother at all. Neither are helpful.      

5. Demographics, even if you have anonymity you can still look at trends within the demographic information which could be Department, Location, etc.

6. Paper based surveys whilst on the surface seem OK, and it does tick the box for those that are less technical, they need to be the last resort not the first. See below for why.

Surveys – despite their importance to gain feedback from NOK, care receivers and professionals- are seldom undertaken due to the following need to be considered, and of course when you look at these steps you can equate this to an awful lot of effort, which is why so many avoid doing so or do them once a year to tick a box for CQC. However, our platform not only radically reduces all this effort, we actually get results as our platform is so easy to engage with and so much more.

Read more about Umbrella Insight here