Strategies to overcome communication barriers in health and social care
Communication is not about passing or exchanging information, communication helps people feel safe, improve their confidence and form lasting relationships. Effective communication is an essential skill required by both social care workers and health care providers to meet the dynamic needs of the people they serve. Good communication is imperative within health care settings . Health care providers build relationships with patients including their families and other care staff to improve patient’s health. Communication is seen as a simple process, but on several occasions, health care workers face various challenges when trying to communicate with others. In health care and social care settings, several factors can limit effective communication. These factors prevents or interferes with the communication processes.
Language barrier is one of the common communication barriers facing many health care staffs. English is the common language for communication. Not all patients use English as their first language. English can cause huge barrier especially in situations where health care workers cannot understand the local language. To overcome language barrier, it advisable to use language translators to assist patients to feel comfortable.
Working with an individuals with various disabilities is often very challenging. Social care staffs can adapt various communication strategies to build positive relationships. Most health care workers use nonverbal communication to overcome these challenges. Nonverbal communication involves body and appearance . Health care worker can determine patients needs through his facial expressions, the patients’ body language can offer valuable information about the patient’s condition ,whether they are experiencing pain or are uncomfortable. Health care workers can overcome communicating barriers among patients with hearing impairment by using facial expression and lip movement as mode of communication. People with hearing impairment prefer reading lips or use sign language. Sign language includes finger spelling, finger spelling involves drawing letter using fingers for the other person to spell out the words. Physical disability limits access to care; disabled patients find it difficult to move around or to attend doctor’s appointments. In such cases, health care providers rely on other professionals to deliver care services. Social workers can help with patient follow-ups and address some of the patient’s needs.
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In a situation where patients are unable to speak due to their medical condition, health care workers can overcome communication challenges by using other forms of communication like graphical presentations or any other specialist to understand patient’s needs. Health care workers can use graphical signs and symbols to provide direction and giving important information especially for those who did not understand English language. Effective communication skill help people in the vulnerable situation, especially during illness, feel safe and secure.
Health care workers and social care workers can utilize advanced technology to communicate with patients. Care workers can use enlarged visual displays or voice description, especially with visual impairment. Electronic aids like minicorn can help people with hearing disability and also voice typing for people with dyslexia, can using modern computer software, health care workers can translate voice material using special printers.
Effective communication skills help patients improve their health because when inpatients feel secure, they can comfortably express their needs and concerns. Effective communication should apply to all health care workers and social care staff when dealing with vulnerable people. Having an outstanding communication skills results to positive health care outcomes.