In an ideal world, communication forms an essential part of human interaction. Within the healthcare industry, it is essential that healthcare professionals have the ability to develop a trusting relationship within the multidisciplinary team and the service users. One way in which this relationship can be gained especially with service users is through communication and empathy. This case study will define the importance and barriers of effective communication joined with the various available methods of communication used in relation to this case study of Mr Adrian Jones and other prospective service users.
The aim and importance of effective communication
Communication involves a two way process where meaning is infused in the minds of others. Nordquist (2018) further expresses that communication are processes of sending and receiving nonverbal and verbal messages including speech , writing and signs and signals. Within. Healthcare industry, communication can takes place on several levels, including interpersonal communication such as face to face, written and body language, small group communication such as interaction of three or more individual, organizational communication such as formal/informal communication either being from top-down or bottom-top flow of information being passed such as subordinate to superior authority
These methods allow the flow of understanding and interpretation of what is needed to be discussed, delivered and practiced within the healthcare system. The benefits of effective communication are numerous as they help all aspects of our professional and personal lives. Misunderstood or ineffective communication in both our professional and personal lives may lead to unwarranted problems with severe consequences especially at our place of work when a third party which are service users is involved. Communication within health and social care is a key building block for any relationship being formed. Good communication skills in a one to one setting, enables the sender to gain the trust and understanding from recipient.
The Nmc code (2015) from 7.1 to 7.5 expresses how a nurse should clearly communicate with the patients and colleagues to show clear understanding on what is being done. (Kourkou and Papthanasiou (2014) elaborates further saying “good communication between patient and nurses is essential for the successful outcome of individualized nursing care of each patient.” to achieve this a healthcare professional should demonstrate the following skills, such as, kindness and sincerity, they must demonstrate courtesy and have patience by devoting time to patients who require or prefer to communicate due to difficulty in speech and expression or having the preference to communicate in private.
The communication between a health care professional and a healthcare user involves more than one style, it involves feelings, empathy, and understanding. These feature not only builds but also binds the relationship. From a professional view, if good communication skills are practiced whether from a horizontal/lateral formation such as three carers looking after one patient, then the success of information being exchange would not have a negative impact on the service user receiving service. A phrase from some British propaganda during the WWII precisely sums up the dangers of ineffective communications: ‘Careless talk costs lives”( Nguyen, 2016).
2.2 Approaches used when promoting effective communication
Communication can be accomplished once the intended information has been received processed and a new message is sent back. Arglye (1972) theory demonstrates this by explaining the communication cycle in 6 steps: where the sender has an idea, cncoding, choice of medium and channel, transmission, reception, decoding and response from recipient (Hussain, 2016). Within a healthcare setting, communication can take a number of different forms these includes linguistic communication, paralinguistic, verbal and nonverbal. Linguistic refers to any spoken or written language that is used to relay messages between one or more persons. This type of communication is made effective only if both the sender and the receiver show a degree of social co-ordination, willingness to actively listen and the language used mirrors the language of the receiver (Psychneuro, 2016).
For instance, Mr Jones is incapable of keeping awake due to his condition therefore depending on the sensitivity of the information he would possible allow his wife or children to help him receive and deliver the message.
2.3 Resource and services to accessed to promote effective communication
High quality care requires time and commitment, therefore patient centred care would be more beneficial than just ticking boxes (Sor, 2018). As a healthcare professional consistent training by keeping up to date with services, health programmes and opportunities would enable the carer to educate and guide the service user on their ability to cope. There are more personal day to day methods of resources and services that can be used for effective communication between the healthcare professional and service user, such as; lip reading, sign language and Makaton for the hearing impaired and Braille for the visually impaired. Other methods that aid in the help of communication can be Human Aids such as language interpreters and technological aids to help with visual, hearing and voice assistance (Sense, 2018). These method would enable the service users to still feel a part of society and involved in any decision making of care and treatment.
3.1 Barriers in effective comms
There are many possible reason why it can be difficult to communicate effectively, especially in an environment where communication is most imperative. Weather it being a health care user to healthcare professional or professional to professional, it is important to have the capability to adapt. There are many barriers that could affect the communication between Mr Jones and his care worker, such as, the use of Jargon – where some words or terminology could be complicated or quite technical for Mr Jones to understand especially once mentally exhausted and tired. Emotional barriers, where Mr jones is a middle aged man and not being physically fit he could feel inadequate and find it difficult to express emotions and consider certain topics to be off limits, Such as mental and physical disabilities, sex/relationships, finances, fatherly duties and husband duties . This can cause depression and suicidal thoughts due to him feeing guilty and alone. Lack of attention and distractions, he falls asleep quite easily aslo the sound of oxygen tank would muffle the sounds he hears as well as busy background noises within his household. From a professional aspect, lack of transparency and trust where information can seem to be kept back and not shared, slowly disconnecting the bond of trust. Key information could be missed due to distractions or active listening leading to assumption or incorrect diagnoses. Displaying negative body language characteristic expressing boredom. Words can be misconstrued due to differences in perception translation, false assumptions, expectation and viewpoints and even language barriers, possibly due to Cultural differences, beliefs and social geographic. Sterotypes and labelling, such as saying what he wants to hear other than what is actually supposed to be said assuming the service user would jump to conclusion which could be a barrier. Physical barriers and nonverbal communication. Due to him falling asleep or the oxygen mask muffling his voice or deafening his hearing can make communication less effective writing something down can be a better form but the tone of the txt would be less effective than face to face communication.
There are several steps in meaningful communication, identifying the desired outcome, choosing the best mode of communication that suits the level of the listener, considering pitch tone and volume, identifying barriers, checking for understanding by allowing room for interjection and studying body language and reflecting. In The case of Mr Jones, the healthcare professional should be patient, frank and honest leaving no suspicion and doubts in their mind, clear speech so there is no misunderstanding and being conscious of surrounding and appropriate timing and proximity.
identify the desired method of how they can communicate successfully with Mr Jones and his Wife. They should consider asking closed questions which can be answered with words or body gestures.
Alternatively, communication aids such as, Lip reading, the use of flash cards and writing on paper or devices would enable him to communicate effectively due to his shortness of breathing and low attention span. Written communication methods in text, email or written letter format will enable Mr Jones to read in his own time most convenient to him and his family and with the correct wording, be able to understand what is being said.