Reducing the Barriers to Effective Communication

Reducing barriers to communication

As a worker you should do what you can to reduce any barriers to communication. The most effective way to make sure that you are meeting someone’s communication needs and providing person centred care is to know as much as possible as you can about them.

A communication passport might be used by some which provides vital information about needs, wishes and preferences. These pull together the information into a format that is easy to read, often with pictures and photographs. Putting something together with an individual can be another good way of getting to know them well and understanding their needs.

It is important to get regular feedback about your communication style and methods from the people you provide care and support to so that you can continue to improve how you communicate. You could also increase your awareness of different communication needs and methods through taking up learning opportunities. Experience will help you to develop a variety of new methods of communication and selecting the best one in each situation. Be creative. Open body language and a positive non-judgemental attitude will further help reduce barriers. Your communication skills should be seen as a toolbox, using the right tool for the right job and choosing a different tool if one doesn’t work well.

Barriers are minimised where the following are present:

Good literacy- We have a duty to be able to communicate verbally, non-verbally and in writing with a high level of accuracy. We need to recognise when we need to improve these skills and to address them.

Plain, clear and accessible communication is used. Information avoids jargon, is fit for its purpose and provided in appropriate accessible formats.

Staff listen as well as act – They enable others to express their views and to take these on board; they use good listening skills and work at the service user’s pace.

Appropriate resources and methods of communication are used. For example where staff know when it is appropriate to use a particular method of communication and where they know when specialist input (such as a Human Aid to Communication) is required.

Appropriate environmental conditions exist. Such as an appropriate physical environment to enable people to hear and follow a conversation and where there are no interfering factors such as background noise or poor lighting to prevent this.

Confidentiality – People know that they are being respected and their personal information is being stored, acted upon and held in accordance with clear confidentiality policies. Where service users know they will not be overheard when involved in discussing personal information.

Service users are enabled to express their own wishes, needs and preferences. Where they are respected as people with views, rights, skills and opinions as well as needs are accounted for.

Staff liaise with service users and keep them informed by providing appropriate and accurate information.

Staff provide a personalised service and have a person-centred approach

Staff work at each individual service users’ pace

Staff understand that their own and other people’s culture can influence communication

Staff are inclusive – They actively make an effort not to exclude or marginalise groups of people or particular individuals

There is trust between the worker and those they support

Use to answer question 6.3b of the Care Certificate


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