factors supporting effective communication

Table of Contents

Confidentiality The care home provides a room for private conversations that service users can access if they need to speak to a staff member in a confidential manner or if they need a formal setting to speak to their family members. This space was also used for private phone calls or confidential meetings. This supports effective communication as it encourages service users to express their feelings and concerns and allows them to feel more comfortable communicating with the nurses. A study found that nurses needed to display security and courtesy towards service users in order to establish a good rapport (NCBI, 2014), therefore having a space for confidential conversation is essential for effective communication. The care home has a strict policy on sharing personal information of the service users, which means they are not allowed to give out information such as care needs, health issues, personal problems and the background of the service user to other staff members unless they have a need to know, e.g. a nurse had to share information about a service users health to another practitioner as they required assessment and specialist support. This helps support effective communication as the service users will trust the nurses and staff members and will feel more comfortable sharing concerns as they know it will be kept confidential. The service users will feel confident in knowing that their information is being kept private and will therefore be less worried and stressed. The Data Protection Act ensures that all files and data detailing personal information about service users are handled with confidentiality, meaning the nurses could be committing an offence if they give private information to another member of staff that doesn’t need to know. Care plans, needs assessments and day files are all required for the nurses to understand the basis of the service user’s condition, all these files are stored in a locked cabinet that only nurses have the key to open. This supports effective communication as the nurse will have knowledge about the service user and will therefore be able to provide the best care and support possible. This allows the service to feel secure as they are aware that their data is being protected. Physical Factors All the staff members were dressed presentably and looked approachable, meaning they had no visible tattoos, simple jewellery and natural hair colours, this look is required as it makes the service users feel more comfortable around the staff members. Each ‘group’ of staff members have a different colour tunic to ensure that all service users can easily identify the roles of each service provider, e.g. the nurse’s tunic is light blue whereas the cleaning staff’s tunic is purple. The staff members are colour coded as it is easy to understand for service users who may have deteriorated eyesight or English as a second language. This supports communication as the service users can identify which staff member to go to for assistance. I noticed that the nurses didn’t invade the service user’s personal space as it could make them feel uncomfortable or violated. However, the nurses occasionally had to assist the service user in intimate forms of care such as helping them with toileting or bathing. The staff members in the care home communicated with the service users at a personal or social distance during informal interactions which ensured that they could read facial expressions, eye movements and overall body language. The staff members also sat near the service users in the lounge areas to have informal conversations which allowed them to build a rapport with the service users, this allowed the service user to feel more comfortable discussing personal concerns with the nurses. The environment of the care home was inviting as the placement of furniture stimulated interaction e.g. the chairs in the lounge were placed in a circle along the walls which encouraged conversation. The staff members ensured that the environment of the care home was not noisy as it could distract the service user or cause their stress levels to rise, therefore they reduce noise by having the tv or radio on a low volume and avoiding disruptive behaviour. They must ensure that the environment is quiet as it could distract the service users from communicating, e.g. when the service users were in the lounge talking a staff member turned off the tv to encourage communication between the service users and nurses. The staff members would frequently have the tv on mute and turn on subtitles to ensure that other service users were not being disturbed by the noise and to further encourage interaction and discussion. Emotional FactorsThe nurses maintained a friendly, supportive approach in order to develop a rapport with service users, their relatives and other staff members. They also ensured that they always seemed interested in what the service user is doing or feeling to build a positive relationship. This allowed the service user to trust the nurse and makes them feel secure in the care home. I noticed that all staff members avoided negativity and maintained a positive attitude as this will have a direct impact on the attitude of the service users, if their carers are positive and supportive, they will feel more comfortable and happier in the environment. Many service users in care settings will seek reassurance and acceptance from the service providers to develop their own self-confidence. In response to this, nurses and other staff members will use praise to reward service users or reassure them. The nurses will also pay close attention to service users and treat them all equally to allow them to build their confidence and self-esteem, this will help promote effective communication as service users will feel listened to and accepted by the staff members. It is also important for the service provider to have confidence in themselves as they may feel nervous when having difficult conversations with service users which may interfere with effective communication, (Nursing Times, 2017), therefore the care home has support groups and staff meetings to ensure that all staff members are coping well in their job. Practitioners Skills All the staff members in the care home ensured that they spoke in a clear tone of voice, used appropriate body language and actively showed interest in what the service user is saying. They adopted an open posture to invite the service users to initiate conversation and make them feel that they are being listened to, they did this by leaning forward slightly, making eye contact and uncrossing their arms. The nurses avoided the use of medical and professional jargon as it could confuse the service user, instead they used language that is easy to understand and to the point. The nurses to used questioning when communicating with service users as it shows that they are interested in what the service user is saying and are paying attention to the conversation. The nurses used both open and closed questions to engage the service user in the conversation and to make them feel that the nurse is paying attention to them. The nurses using pauses is also essential when speaking to the service users as silence should be used for both people to gather their thoughts and it enables the service user to think of what to say next. As only 10% of our communication is spoken, it is essential for the nurses to use facial expressions when speaking to service users. The nurses used facial expressions to non-verbally communicate feelings such as smiling can communicate happiness and quizzical expressions can convey misunderstanding or confusion. The nurses use of facial expressions can be helpful for service users who find it difficult to communicate verbally and can be reassuring if English is a second language. Touch was also used in communication, e.g. the nurse placing a hand on a service user’s arm can convey support, however this was used sparingly as some service users may not like their personal space to be invaded. Word count: 1310