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Developing effective communication in care

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 5041 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Communication is a process that involves the exchange of information between two individuals. Interpersonal interaction is involving relations between two individuals of a mutual or reciprocal action. There are innumerable types of communication; however I’ll mention a few types. The following are some examples of types of communication:

  • Technology
  • Music and drama
  • Touch
  • Text
  • One to one
  • Groups
  • Formal and informal
  • Oral
  • Visual

Technology can be defined as the tool to interpret the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of industrial means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment. Technology is without doubt advancing as the years go by, technology developments are possible to impact generally on both life expectancy and more critically, the quality of life during later life; for example through the introduction of assistive technologies and aids in the home, development of new treatments and medications, the improvements in technology to provide better health information for patients and carers, and communications systems that will create the opportunity to exercise greater choice (e.g. shopping and tele-banking) from the convenience of the home. In care homes, technology is used in many occasions; for example, if a disable person isn’t able to walk they may use wheelchair also if a patient isn’t able to get up they can use machinery which would be able to get up the patient in ease. Lifts is commonly used in care homes/hospitals to get to floor to floor.

Music and drama is a creative form of auditory communication incorporating vocal tones in an ordered and continuous manner. Years ago, music was used to communicate with other people; man found that trumpets made from shells produced a sound that carried for many miles. By using a series of trumpet blasts, messengers were able to communicate fairly detailed messages from town to town, village to village and tribe to tribe. Music is an Art Form and all art forms use expressions. Music can be used as a manner of communicating and expressing a variety of feelings. They can be used when individuals in health and social are having difficulty in expressing themselves in other ways. Music can be used to calm and soothe, and to promote relaxation. It can also be used as a chance to promote communication within groups. Music is used in nurseries such as children’s game known as ‘musical chairs’. The children communicate with the music by moving when the music is on and they sit on the chair when the music turns off. This type o f communication engages the children to express themselves.

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Touch can be defined as a physical contact with someone. Touching another individual varies from circumstances to circumstances. Different cultures have different norms regarding the role of touching as a method of communication. In addition, there may be different rules about how close people should be in relation to each other. In the health care settings, individuals tend to stand further away and touch each other less than in some other places.

Used suitably, touch can express messages of support, compassionate and affection. In other conditions touch may be seen as suggesting authority or sexual interest. Care workers need to take care to make certain that in any situation in which they use to touch to communicate is suitable, welcomed and understood by the client.

Text is the words of something written; written communication is often used in care settings. Not only has this but this included handwritten information, however the ever-increasing use of email and other electronic forms of communication. Lots of different types of information are communicated using text, including patient’s records, policies and procedures, letters and memos, and care plans. Care workers commonly have to spend time ensuring that records are up to date and appropriate and care workers usually use memos to communicate with other colleagues.

One-to-one is the relationships between two people, conversation between two people are used to convey information. From time to time the information itself is insignificant, but the fact that two people are communicating can imply interest and support for each other. At other times the information communicated is very significant. Rarely in health setting, mental people abuse the care workers and can result in to one-to-one dialogue with an authority in the care home.

Groups are a number of entities. Communication can also take place in group settings. Individuals often respond in a different way when they are part of a group, than they would on a one-to-one basis. A number of groups will be made up of individuals who know each other well. Other groups will be made up of people who do not meet very often or who have come together for the first time. Within the group there may be a number of different roles. The arrangement of a group will manipulate the way communication occurs. Social workers who produce group programs in health care settings should design a programme that not only responds to the requirements of the patient but also meet the needs of the organisation, i.e. groups.

Formal communication may possibly use a range of unlike procedures. There are loads of situations when it’s necessary to make sure that information is shared formally. This may be for the reason that of officially authorised requirements, such as health and safety information, or because treatment or a diagnosis may depend on the right facts being communicated. Education and training are often undertaken using formal communication methods. Formal communication can happen verbally or in writing, either in a letter or by electronic message. In some instances several different methods may be used to convey the same information to ensure that there is full understanding.

Informal communication occurs on every occasion when we are in contact with others. Working in health and social care provides constant opportunities for informal communication, including short conversations and chats. Informal communication is often unintended and consequently it is important that care workers constantly act in a suitable way in order that the highest standards are established.

Oral is when you use speech rather than writing. The basis of oral communication is spoken language. However, it’s not only through words that oral communication takes place. The cycle of speaking and listening can also be affected by the way in which the words are spoke. The tone of voice used by the speaker can affect how the information is received. If someone sounds bored or angry it influences how the listener reacts. If the pitch or volume is high or low it may give the impression of shouting or whispering, either of which may convey an inappropriate message. The pace of speech needs to ensure that it’s clear and easily understood. Styles of speech may reflect the community from which the speaker comes from which the speaker comes. When speaking in a health and care setting such as a care home you must present the information in a clear and simple way especially when speaking to someone with a hearing impairment you must stand close to the so they could read your lips.

Visual is relating to a sense of sight. Communication doesn’t rely simply on speech and language. Majority of information is communicated visually and at times does not need words to explain the message, together with the visual messages conveyed by facial expressions and body language. The use of visual techniques to communicate can be very influential. Advertising companies widen brand identities that no longer rely on words to express their messages. To use positive colours or designs is adequate to communicate the meaning. In health settings, deaf people, nearly almost use visual, for example the non smoking symbol can help a deaf person know if an area is prohibited smoking area.

Speech and language- Speech is the act of delivering a formal spoken communication to an audience. The words speech and language are often used interchangeably to describe the interaction of people talking to each other. However, speech is linked with how we say words while language defines what we say. The following are examples of speech:

  • Jargon
  • Dialect
  • Accent
  • Tone of voice

Jargon is the technical language used by professions. Jargon is basically a shortened form of language that encapsulates implied knowledge. It is extremely practical in a community sharing a general interest as it removes much information redundancy. Meanwhile it represents an obstruction to those strange with it and makes it possible to quickly identify the “outsiders”. Therefore the “outsiders” will feel excluded as long as they are powerless to gain knowledge of and use effectively the jargon used by specific group concerned. Jargon that has proven its usefulness becomes included into what is best described as typical language. In health, jargons are used multitudes of time, for instance; NHS stands for National health standard.

Dialect is the form of language spoken by people in a particular region or group. Dialect is the general pronunciation practiced in a particular region. Almost certainly the single person who does not consider you have some type of regional accent is you, because we are so familiar to listening to the dialect of the region we live in we don’t hear it. Be attentive of the slang and accent utilised in your region of influence. Construct a conscious effort not to give way to it. Try to eliminate any accent and slang from your daily vocabulary. This will make communication effective only to people in your region however people who exist outside of you area might understand you.

Accent is a regional, geographical way of speaking. Different people have different styles of speaking. These styles may be influenced by their cultural backgrounds or communities. Regional or national accents can be very distinctive and sometimes difficult to understand outside the immediate geographical area.

Tone of voice including pitch and volume, can convey a meaning quite separate from the words that are being used. A warm and friendly tone of voice with the words spoken in a calm, clear and well paced manner can convey reassurance and support.

Slang can be defined as words that are used in an informal manner Slang is not part of the English language ad are not usual to be used in formal location. The words of slang often alter as fresh ones come into popularity, and they maybe mostly related with certain groups. The apply of slang can keep out persons as of a particular group. Other language may be seen as abuse. A number of slang expressions ultimately happen to be established into official language

Facial expression and the manner of eye contact that is made is a constructive sign of what an individual is feeling. Subconsciously we obtain in what is being exposed throughout facial expressions and eye contact. Nevertheless, a quantity of individuals may try to conceal their true feelings by controlling their expressions. You can look at someone’s eyes to see their expressions. They eyes may be opened, wide or narrowed. Different meanings of an individual will depend on the length of any eye contact. An extended fixed gaze is frequently interpreted as an angry look, while a long contact which then becomes a smile may indicate as welcoming approach. Narrowed eyes may indicate doubt. A look away might be for the reason that of boredom or shame. On the other hand, it’s significant to keep in mind that eye contact is also culturally influenced.

Posture and body language is a good and effective way to send a message to someone. Sometimes the messages convey are subconscious, but in other situations a decision could be made to convey or reinforce a message by adopting a particular posture or using certain body language. The way an individual sits or stands can reveal what he or she is feeling and communicated this very clearly to others.

Proximity can be defined as the space between people. Similar to touch, it can convey different meanings and be interpreted in different ways. Sometimes it’s very appropriate to move closer to an individual. At other times it may be seen as invading an individual’s personal space and may make him or her feel uncomfortable.

Gestures are hand gestures and arm movements can be used to convey a meaning. Some people use their hands frequently when they are talking to illustrate or emphasise a point. Some gestures carry a particular meaning of their own, such an s a thumbs sup sign, although there may be variation in meaning from country to country.

Silence is the absence of sound; it may be strange that silence can convey a message in an interaction between people. A space between words can give a sense of calm and an unrushed approach. Councillors often allow periods of silence in which their clients are given space to think and consider. On the negative side, a silent reaction may indicate anger or disagreement and lack of assistance.

Touch is frequently use in care settings to convey messages of support or care. However, used inappropriately it can be misunderstood as indicating a sexual interest or as a way of having power over an individual.

Reflective listening is well recognized as parallel talk, parroting, and paraphrasing. Reflective listening is the way of repeating or paraphrasing what the patient has said. Reflective listening helps the patient learn to label their own emotions, and helps them to comprehend that you are hearing what they have said.

Communication Cycle is a structure that was thought up about how we communicate. Our thoughts and interpreting the other the other person understands of what we are communicating.

Shannon and Weaver’s Communication Model has five essential factors, arranged in a linear format:

  • The information source only selects a required message out of a set of possible messages.
  • The transmitter alters the message into a signal that is sent over the communication channel to the receiver.
  • The receiver is a sort of opposite transmitter, altering the transmitted signal back into a message, and interpreting this message.
  • This message is then sent to the destination. The destination may be another receiver or the message may rest with the first receiver, and the transmission is achieved.
  • In the process of transmitting a message, certain information that was not intended by the information source is unavoidably added to the signal (or message). This “noise” can be internal (i.e., coming from the receiver’s own knowledge, attitudes, or beliefs) or external. Internal or external “noise” can either build up the intended effect of a message or deteriorate the intended effect.

The communication cycle

Communication involves the sending and receiving of messages. It is a two way process, the cycle of communication proceeds thought a number of stages.

  1. Ideas Occur- you have an idea that you want to communicate.
  2. Message Coded- you think through how you are going to say, what you are thinking. You put your thoughts into language or into some other code such as sign language.
  3. Message Sent- you speak; or perhaps you sign or write or in some way send you message.
  4. Message Perceived- the other person has to sense your message. They hear your words or see your symbols.
  5. Message Decoded- the other person has to interpret or decode your message, i.e. what you have said. This is not always easy as the other person will make assumptions about your words and body language.
  6. Message Understood- it all goes well, your ideas will be understood, but this does not always happen first time.
  • Ideas Occur- I want to open a dental clinic in the Stretford area.
  • Message Coded- I go to the local authority and tell them my scenario.
  • Message Sent- I express what I needed to say and I sent my message across.
  • Message Perceived- My message has been heard and needs to be understood.
  • Message Decoded- The local authority interprets what I said.
  • Message Understood- My message has been understood!

There are many factors that influence communication and interpersonal interactions in health and social care settings. The following are examples of factors that communication and interpersonal interactions:

  • Signs
  • Symbols
  • Pictures and writing
  • Objects of reference
  • Communication Passports
  • Human and technological aids to communication

High Quality communication is essential to working with youthful people, kids, their families, elderly people and carers. This involves listening, inquiring, accepting and responding to what is being communicated by kids, youthful people, elderly people along with those helpful for them. Significantly, you must be able to communicate equally on a one-on-one basis and in a group circumstance. People may think that communication is only just about the words you use, nevertheless it’s important that your conduct of speaking, body language and, mostly, the efficiency with which you listen and pay attention. Effective communication is important to take account of culture and context because someone may have Spanish or English as an additional language.

Signs and symbols can be defined as any nonverbal action or motion that conceals a meaning. Gestures through hands or arms, written symbols or diagram such as traffic signs, all communicate to people. It is not only those who have lost their capability to hear that use signs and signed languages to communicate as many people who have great hearing commonly use non-verbal communication techniques. Yet the simple gesture of nodding or shaking the head is a form of signing although very ancient. Also facial expressions is a extremely significant type of signing and by using facial expression, countless different moods and emphases can be used to emphasize the most vital parts of communication both verbal and non-verbal. In health and care settings signs and symbols

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Picture is a visual representation (of an object or scene or person or abstraction) created on a surface. Paintings, photographs, sculptures, architecture, ornaments and other household objects can communicate messages and emotions to people. Occasionally an object such as a love heart pillow can symbolise significant delicate issues and give a sense of meaning and comfort for an individual. A quantity of people with communication difficulties doesn’t identify with photographs or drawings although they might recognize with an object such as a game.

Written Communication is communication by means of written symbols (either printed or handwritten).Written communication involves every form of communication that makes use of the written word. Written communication is one of the two key types of communication, along with oral/spoken communication. Written communication is very common in health care environment, therefore it is essential for careers and care home owners to develop effective written communication skills. A variety form of written communication that are used internally for fast communication operations in a health care home, include reports, memos bulletins, job descriptions, employee manuals, and mail.

Communication Passports is basically a small personalised book containing information about a person and their style of communication. The passport may facilitate health and care workers to recognize the personal and communication needs of an individual with communication problems. Communication passports regularly include photographs or drawings that may assist car workers to increase an enhanced understanding of the person who owns a passport. They are put together by working with the person with communication problems and his or her carers.

Technology can be defined as knowledge, tools and processes used to create the medium in which the text exists or through which the text is conveyed. Technology is a good means to send information across to different locations in a very short period of time. Enlarged visuals displays or voice feedbacks can be used for people who have visual impairment. Technology has progressed so much that electronic aids to communication can turn speech into writing, such as the Mincom for people with hearing impairments or voice ping for people with dyslexia. In health care settings, technology is used throughout,

Human aids to communication are a means of helping humans with communication problems. In fact many service users will have specific communication needs. If an individual has difficulties in language, it is recommended to employ an interpreter. Care worker should use language to describe issues that a sighted person might take for granted for people who have vision impairments. Touch may be an important aspect of communication because blind people can touch your face in order for them to build an understanding of your features.

Environment is the collection of surrounding things, conditions, or influences; surroundings; setting. Environment is a huge factor for good communication because if there is a lot of background noise it is very hard to hear what someone is saying. In addition, it’s difficult to make sense of other peoples facial expressions if you can’t see their face correctly due to poor lighting. Many rooms have strange seating plans so groups of people may not be able to see each other properly. People may feel uncomfortable if they are trying to communicate with a person who is too close or at distance. A room that is too hot or too cold may restrain communication if it makes individuals feel weary or stressed out.

Behaviour can play a significant role in communication because behaviour can be categorised in many categories, such as, attitude, assertiveness, aggressiveness and submission. Attitude can be defined as a position of the body or manner of carrying oneself. Communication may become difficult if an individual has bad attitude because people may not want to communicate with such individual. Assertiveness is the quality of being self-assured and self-confident. Assertion is a highly developed skill that involves controlling the essential emotions involved in running away or fighting. Aggressiveness is the quality of being bold and creative. An aggressive person would demand that they are right and the other person is wrong in a conflict. They will want to win while others lose. Submission is defined as the act of submitting; usually surrendering power to another. Submission is the opposite of aggressiveness. A submissive person accepts that they will lose, get told off or be put down emotionally.

Barriers to Communication

Communication is a procedure that involves the exchange of communication between two individuals. Barriers can be defined as any condition that makes it complicated to make improvement; to attain an objective. In communication, no matter how excellent and effective a communicator one maybe, nevertheless the fact is that one does face certain barriers, from time to time, which obligates them to work on becoming even more effective in their skills to communicate. There are countless dissimilar types of barriers that can prevent effective communication. The clearest type of barrier is when information is not received. This can be demonstrated by, a disabled person communicating to a non-disabled person, i.e. a deaf person who uses signed language communicates with an individual who can’t use sign language to communicate. When the individual communicates orally the sounds are not received. Communication discards because a suitable language system has not been used and no information is communicated. Barriers in the environment can also prevent sounds from being heard, or non verbal messages from being seen. Some barriers of communication maybe:

  • Language
  • Disability
  • Personality
  • Environment
  • Assumptions
  • Stereotypes
  • Time
  • Self esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Cultural differences
  • Value and belief systems
  • Use and abuse of power

Language can be defined as a form of communication using words either spoken or gestured with the hands and structured with grammar, often with a writing system. Language is a central feature of any communication process. It is often assumed in care settings that the language of communication should be the language of the dominant culture, which is mainly English. Language can be difficult when technical jargon is used and this is where professional care workers lack. When using language to assume an understanding of technical jargon of the particular setting or speciality, it is important not to use jargon because it can confuse service users. This can be extremely more difficult if the service user’s first language is not English. Solutions include multilingual signposting around the care setting; letters and leaflets translated into the language used by members. Also you should employ an interpreter for staff whose first language isn’t English. These methods can help the service users who have little or no English, or who favour speaking other languages than English because they understand and communicate more efficiently.

Disability is defined as the condition of being not capable to perform as a consequence of physical or mental unfitness. In deaf people, communication is much complicated because the gift to hear is abolished. The way deaf people communicate is by sign language. Sign language is a barrier to non-deaf people because most non-deaf people haven’t learnt sign language.

Personality is defined as a set of qualities that make a person (or thing) different from another. Raising an understanding of another individual and maintaining a caring person can be extremely complicated where the personality or self esteem requirements of another person can create a barrier. Many people who are depressed or anxious experience negative thoughts. Someone with a bad personality, for example, an individual who swears at someone or someone who acts rude to you is identified as a bad personality. This can create barriers because the link to communicating with each other is gone because of the bad personality.

Environment is the area in which something exists or lives. The environment can affect the quality of communication between people and may even discourage individuals from making the effort to communicate with each other at all. This may be because of the background noise. A noisy background can hinder attempts to communicate.

An assumption is a statement (true or false) which is to be taken as true for the purpose of the argument which follows. This is the type of barrier that when information gets through, and you think that you have understood the message, but what you understand is distorted by perception, i.e. you understanding is wrong. Assumptions can distort the way we decode messages.

Stereotyping is a conventional and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image. Stereotypes may create barriers to building an understanding. When you have classified people you think that you know what they are like. You might believe that you don’t need to listen to a person because you already know what their needs are. Stereotypes can create barrier because people stop listening and checking their understanding of other peoples communication. An example of a stereotype that makes a barrier to communication might be Autistic people. Autistic people are often stereotyped as damaged versions of normal people.

Support Services

It is not likely to communicate with people who have very serious learning disability or illness. In this circumstance, a care worker or care services will often employ a advocate. An Advocate is someone who speaks for someone else. A solicitor speaking for a client is working as an advocate for that person and will argue the persons case. Advocates should be independent of the staff team and so can argue for the service user’s rights without being influenced by what is the easiest or cheapest thing to do. Advocacy often makes sure that people’s needs are not overlooked but it is not straightforward. People who argue on their own case is called self advocacy.

Interpreters can be defined as people who communicate meaning from language to another. This includes interpreting between spoken and signed languages such as English Sign Language. Translators are people who change recorded material from one language to another. Translators and interpreters involve the communication of meaning between different languages. Translating and interpreters may be professional people who are employed by social services. Interpretation and translation are vital in any settings where communication is blocked because individuals rely on different languages or communication systems. Interpreters and translators are needed significantly because many communities where English may not be the first language need translators and interpreter, therefore, interpreters and translators are needed frequently because a lot of places need translators and interpreters.


  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communication
  • BTEC National Health and Social Care
  • Oxford English Dictionary


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