Standard 6 of the Care Certificate explores communication.
This includes the different types of communication, how to communicate effectively with individuals, removing barriers to communication and the importance of confidentiality.
Many of the assessment criteria in this standard are the same or similar to the Level 2 Diploma Unit Communication in Care Settings. To avoid repetition, where there is overlap there will be links to the corresponding Level 2 Diploma question.
- 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
- 6.5 Use appropriate verbal and non-verbal communication
- 6.6 Support the use of appropriate communication aids/technologies
In short, people generally communicate to express a need or an emotion, give instructions, share information or experiences, to socialise and to offer reassurance and understanding.
Communication affects work relationships because you will constantly be sending and receiving information to and from others including the individuals you care for, your co-workers, managers, outside agencies and other professionals.
It is important to ensure that you provide clear information to others and understand the information that has been provided to you. Poor communication leads to misunderstandings and mistakes, which can put strain on relationships.
See here for further information on communicating effectively.
6.1c Describe why it is important to observe and be receptive to an individual’s reactions when communicating with them
Part of effective communication is to observe and be receptive to the reactions of the individuals that you communicate with.
Visual clues such as body language, facial expressions and gestures can help you assess if the individual is listening to you and has understood what you have said.
6.2a Describe how to establish an individual’s communication and language needs, wishes and preferences
In short, a list of sources of an individual’s communication requirements includes:
- The individual themselves
- The individual’s family and friends
- The individual’s care plan
- Other professionals (e.g. nurse, psychiatrist, social worker etc.)
6.2b List a range of communication methods and styles that could help meet an individual’s communication needs, wishes and preferences
There are several communication methods and styles that you can use to help meet an individual’s needs, wishes and preferences. The list below is by no means exhaustive but it does highlight a range of communication techniques.
- Speaking slowly
- Keeping sentences short
- Facing the individual (e.g. if they are deaf and rely on lip reading)
- Speaking in a different language
- Using a translator/interpreter
- Sign language
- Using gestures
- Using visual aids
Barriers to effective communication prevent messages being received and processed during conversation. Click here for a more detailed look at communication barriers.
A brief list of barriers to communication:
- Not being given enough time to process information
- Uncomfortable surroundings
- Noise levels
- Ineffective communication methods
- State of mind
- Lack of interest
An important part of effective communication is ensuring that what you have communicated has been understood. This section of the Level 2 Diploma discusses ways to do this.
NOTE: In this question, HCSW refers to Health Care Support Worker and ASCW refers to Adult Social Care Worker. It basically means you!
Encouraging active listening is a useful tool to ensure what you say is understood. This means regularly asking the individual if they understand you and asking them to clarify this by repeating what you have said back to you in their own words.
6.3d Describe where to find information and support or services, to help them communicate more effectively
In short, you can obtain support and guidance from:
- Your manager
- The individual you support
- Their family and friends
- Care plans
- The Internet
6.4b List any legislation and agreed ways of working to maintain confidentiality in day-to-day communication
Legislation and agreed ways of working (organisational policies and procedures) can be used to help maintain confidentiality in day-to-day communication.
The Data Protection Act 2018 (including GDPR) requires organisations to store and process personal information securely. You can find more information about handling information here.
The Human Rights Act 1998 states that everyone has a right to a private and family life.
Agreed ways of working
Your organisation will have policies and procedures in place that will help you to maintain confidentiality.
You will have rules and processes about how information should be recorded and stored. You must follow these as they are designed to ensure that you comply with the law.
There may also be policies and guidelines about good practice and behaviours that can help maintain confidentiality, such as ensuring paperwork is not left lying around and that you cannot be overheard when discussing personal information.
6.4c Describe situations where information, normally considered to be confidential, might need to be passed on
Information that would normally be considered confidentiality might need to be shared in certain situations. When it is necessary to pass on confidential information is explored here but a brief list of circumstances is provided below.
- if there is high risk of an individual harming themselves
- if there is a high risk of an individual harming others
- if an individual has been involved in or is likely to be involved in a serious crime
- if a child or vulnerable adult is at risk of harm
- if your own safety is at risk
- if asked in a court of law
Advice and support about confidentiality can come from many sources but in most cases, you should approach your manager for guidance.
For this assessment criteria, you will need to show that you understand how to utilise various types of communication.
The tone you use should be normal and professional. You should not sound harsh or condescending.
Similarly, the volume of your voice should be medium. If you are too loud it can come across as aggressive and if you are too quiet you may not be heard.
You should ensure that you use words that the individual you are communicating with is able to understand.
The pace of your speech should be at a comfortable speed for the individual to comprehend what you are saying with adequate pauses in between.
Non verbal aspects of communication include:
- Proximity – being close enough to the individual to see and hear them but without invading their personal space
- Position – ensuring that you face one another and are comfortable
- Eye contact – good eye contact is often important however it can make some individuals feel uncomfortable, so use their care plan as a guide if possible
- Body language – ensure your own body language is fairly neutral and observe the individual’s body language for visual clues
- Touch – this can be a useful way to communicate, for example gently touching an individual’s shoulder to get their attention if they have an auditory impairment
- Signs – deaf individuals may need you to communicate using sign language, individuals with learning disabilities may use Makaton
- Visual aids – symbols and pictures can help some individuals understand and process messages better than words
- Reading and writing – strong literacy skills are essential for a care worker
- Objects of referencing – for example, if you are talking about a football, pointing to it or holding it can aid understanding
- Human and technical aids – interpreters and translators can help individuals that do not have a common language communicate, as can hardware/software such as speech synthesizers
The most common and desirable form of communication is face-to-face, however it can also take place over the telephone or via text messages, by email, records and documents and social media.
For individuals that require communication aids, they are often an essential part of their day to day life. Therefore, you should ensure that they are clean, work correctly and are in good repair.
Similarly, any technologies that you require for your work such as phones, laptops or tablets should be in proper working order and fit for purpose.
Often technology is shared between multiple people, so it is important that you keep it clean and leave it as you would expect to find it.
Concerns about any communication aids or technologies should be reported to the appropriate person(s) immediately.
Who you should report malfunctioning or broken equipment to will vary depending on what the item is and your organisation’s agreed ways of working.
Your organisation may have a contract with an outside IT agency to repair faulty computers or it may have its own internal department.
If in doubt, seek support from your manager.