This unit for the Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care explores the reasons why people communicate, how to establish the communication needs of individual and how to identify and overcome barriers to communication.
It also discusses confidentiality in health and social care settings.
The assessment criteria for this unit is very similar to the level 2 unit Communication in Care Settings. Therefore, wherever there is overlap, a link to the corresponding answer in the level 2 unit is provided.
- Understand why effective communication is important in the work setting
- Be able to meet the communication and language needs, wishes and preferences of individuals
- Demonstrate how to establish the communication and language needs, wishes and preferences of individuals in order to maximise the quality of the interaction
- Describe the factors to consider when promoting effective communication
- Demonstrate a range of communication methods and styles to meet individual needs
- Demonstrate how to respond to an individual’s reactions when communicating
- Be able to overcome barriers to communication
- Explain how people from different backgrounds may use and/or interpret communication methods in different ways
- Identify barriers to effective communication
- Demonstrate ways to overcome barriers to communication
- Demonstrate how to use strategies that can be used to clarify misunderstandings
- Explain how to use communication skills to manage complex, sensitive, abusive or challenging situations and behaviours
- Explain how to access extra support or services to enable individuals to communicate effectively
- Explain the purposes and principles of independent advocacy
- Explain when to involve an advocate and how to access advocacy services
- Be able to apply principles and practices relating to confidentiality
See Identify Different Reasons People Communicate in the Level 2 section.
See Explain How Effective Communication Affects All Aspect of Work in the Level 2 section.
When faced with challenging situations, good communication skills can be important in diffusing them.
You should always remain calm and, if possible, take some time to assess the situation
Your body language should remain neutral and you should speak slowly and clearly to ensure you are understood.
Give the individual plenty of time to process what you are saying.
Show compassion and empathy and try to be non-judgmental.
2.1 Demonstrate how to establish the communication and language needs, wishes and preferences of individuals in order to maximise the quality of the interaction
See ‘Find out an individual’s communication and language needs, wishes and preferences‘ in the Level 2 section.
As a senior member of staff, you may also try to establish an individual’s needs using trial and error, for example testing out new communication techniques and assessing their efficacy.
There are several factors you will need to consider when promoting effective communication.
First and foremost, does the individual have verbal capabilities? If not, they may have a great deal of difficulty explaining their needs and feelings to you unless you establish some communication rules.
This could be signs, gestures, writing, pictures, noises or facial expressions. Visual aids such as pictorial cards could also be used or technology such as text-to-voice converters.
An individual may be verbal but not be able to hear what you saying due to a hearing impairment. You may need to ensure that you are facing them so that they can read your lips or you may have to learn and use sign language.
The environment is another factor you may need to consider as communication can be difficult if an individual is not comfortable. Some things to consider include temperature, lighting, noise levels and seating.
You should also ensure that the language you use is age-appropriate and ability-appropriate.
3.1 Explain how people from different backgrounds may use and/or interpret communication methods in different ways
An individual’s background can influence how they use and/or interpret communication methods.
Some individuals may have been brought up in an environment that discourages talking about emotions and feelings and so may not be able to open up very easily.
Eye contact can be considered rude in some cultures whereas in others it is polite.
Similarly, in some cultures older generations are revered and treated very respectfully when spoken to.
Some individuals may have been raised in families that have their own words or ‘in-jokes’. Or they may not have used English as their first language. This is why it is so important to get as much information as possible about an individual’s communication needs.
3.5 Explain how to use communication skills to manage complex, sensitive, abusive or challenging situations and behaviours
We can us communication skills to aid the management of complex, sensitive, abusive or challenging situations and behaviours. In fact, it is often better to talk about difficult situations rather than avoiding them and letting them fester.
If the difficult conversation is planned then you will usually have time to gather all the information relating it and ensure all the facts are correct. You will also have time to assess this information and draw rough conclusions from it but you should be prepared to receive additional information that may change your mind during the conversation.
You should always show compassion and empathy but remain assertive and communicate what you need to with clarity and certainty. In cases where you may need additional information before making up your mind you should communicate this to the individual.
Sometimes it may be necessary to negotiate to find some common ground towards a solution.
Listening is very important as difficult situations are often fueled by emotion and if an individual does not feel they are being listened to, the situation could escalate. You do not have to agree with them but should allow them the opportunity to put across their views. In particularly difficult situations it may be beneficial to hold off on conversation until everyone has calmed down.
When you speak, you should speak slowly and clearly and stay calm.
3.6 Explain how to access extra support or services to enable individuals to communicate effectively
Independent advocacy is a service that ensures an individual is able to have their voice heard when decisions are being made about them. An advocate will find out an individual’s needs and desires by communicating with them and speak up for them.
An individual may require an advocate to:
- Understand their care and support
- Be actively involved in their care and support and make decisions about their needs
- Challenge plans that have been made on their behalf if they do not agree with them
Many individuals use family members or friends to advocate for them but this is not possible for everybody.
Social services may appoint an independent advocate or an individual can appoint one by themselves. There are many advocate services available throughout the UK and some charities also provide them.
4.3 Describe the potential tension between maintaining an individual’s confidentiality and disclosing concerns
There may be some situations where you need to pass on information that would otherwise be considered confidential. This may be because an individual has disclosed to you that they have been abused or because failure to pass on information could lead to an individual being harmed.
This can create tension because an individual may not want you to share information they have told you in confidence. They may feel betrayed and angry and you may feel guilty.
If an individual says they will only disclose something to you if you promise not to tell anybody else, you should tell them that you cannot make this promise before knowing what it is because you may be bound by a legal, professional or moral duty to report what they tell you.
By being open and honest about this, the individual has the information they need to choose whether they still want to tell you and you can still fulfill your professional obligations if you need to.