UNIT 1: USE AND DEVELOP SYSTEMS THAT PROMOTE COMMUNICATION
UNIT REFERENCE NUMBER: F/602/2335
Communication is defined as effective process of understanding and sharing information among two or more people. It is known as two-way process. Communication plays important role in care setting as it helps form relationship among carers and individuals involved.
1. Be able to address the range of communication requirements in own role
1.1. Review the range of groups and individuals whose communication needs must be addressed in own job role.
As the senior care assistant my job role involves communicating with various groups to efficiently deliver the message across all the individuals involved. The first and most important group in my opinion is internal staff as being the responsible individual, it is important to recognise and value their views and seek advice and make corrections if they report any issues that can affect the care needs of an individual we care for and it can also help in improving the quality of service of our home. This also aids in good structure of daily shift running as staff can communicate what ways of working are useful to them and prove to be in best interest of our residents. The second group of individuals of whom the communication needs addressing are service users. Despite suffering from Dementia and other mental health conditions, every individual is considered different as their condition affect them in different ways, therefore it is important to consider their individual needs in dignified manner and this is done through ongoing assessments and considering the factors that affect their ability to communicate as they lack capacity to understand or interpret their emotions appropriately. In such cases, my job role involves holding regular communication individually at the pace that is suitable to them as it promotes their wellbeing and provides an opportunity for them to express themselves even though it is for short moment. Recognising the communication ability or inability of service users has enabled myself to assist them to access resources and provide support where possible, this also include making referrals to other professionals to seek further assistance. The involvement of families is promoted at my workplace and I promptly communicate with families to inform them of any changes with their relative holistic needs and their views are considered important when making long term or short-term decisions about the care of their relative. My role as senior carer also involves liaising with group of health professionals such as GP to seek medical attention for service users and making request of further referrals, District Nurses to arrange home visits or reporting skin related concerns, OT’s or physiotherapist to seek advise for prevention of falls and aids for service users mobility, Dieticians to seek nutritional advice and way of communication with the professionals is to give them regular feedbacks. My communication role further extends as and when I assist my manager to provide any response to external agencies such as Care Quality Commission notifications or meeting the requirement of social workers query.
1.2. Explain how to support effective communication within own Job role
Within my job role, it is important for me to hold good communication skills to form positive relationships, sharing information and monitoring of effectiveness of communication therefore various methods of communication are used to meet individual communication needs for example making verbal and nonverbal interactions with Dementia service users using gestures, eye contact, using simpler words or breaking sentences into short to help their understanding. We have dementia related direction signs displayed and coloured doors within the home which makes it easier for the service users to adapt to environment. Communication book is good tool of communication among the staff as daily activity such as appointments, phone calls, family or health professional visit and meetings that have happened during the day is recorded so when staff come on duty is aware of happenings in the home. Handovers that are useful source of information among staff about service users as their needs can be discussed and what actions are required throughout the day to meet their needs are decided and also it is an opportunity for the shift in charge to delegate work among the staff to run shift effectively and report back to person in charge upon completion of their duties. This gives shift in charge sufficient time to complete other important tasks such as medication rounds, outstanding audits and attending meetings. Staff supervisions and meetings are formal discussions where roles and performances of each staff are reviewed, and further targets are set to follow. This can be form of personalised or central communication. Also issues around the home are discussed in group meetings where service users are involved, and their views are considered, this promotes good culture. We have annual or 6 months reviews by social workers and doctors where all families, the individual itself and keyworkers are invited, and more person-centred care is reviewed and updated in care plans. All care plans are reviewed monthly and updated as and when anything happens, and staff are given opportunity to read the care plans as part of their shift to gain understanding of service user. We effectively use electronic communication such as emails to send and receive any documents and update staff about any changes, upcoming training and sharing informative resources to improve their knowledge about care. The manager has created a text group for all the senior staff and they can communicate important happenings within that group. In such way all management is kept informed even in their absence.
1.3. Analyse the barriers and challenges to communication within own Job role
Barriers to effective communication within my job role are the factors that can interfere within an individual ability to understand. As I work with dementia service users who have sensory impairments such as hearing or sight loss, it becomes difficult for them see signs, this puts them high risk of falls. They have difficulty with speech and have muddled up words and have difficulty finding the right words which disable them to express what they mean, this could cause frustration and more confusion. Individuals language preference is a barrier as it is not understandable by everyone and not having interpreter to understand the individual’s language can cause the individual to become isolated in same environment as others. Environmental factors such as poor lighting, noisy atmosphere, loud television or music are a barrier as it might be against an individual’s personal preferences and cause loss of concentration or ability to hear. Temperatures are barrier as if too hot or too cold environment can lead to some health risks such as chest infections and cause discomfort. Health and Social Care Act 2008 sets out legislations how service is regulated and inspected, however staff not having sufficient understanding of legislations is a barrier as when the service is inspected and is not up to regulatory standards, this puts staff under pressure if mandatory training is not provided by Home manager in timely manner. This can be challenging for the care staff and the Home Manager if policies and procedures are not in line with CQC requirements or out of date. Another barrier to this is conflicting views of Regulatory Authority and Council (providing funding for service users) about the service. Staff sickness is a challenge and the shortage of staff puts more workload on staff who work full time and are committed to their job role. Staff feel stressed and over worked as support from agency staffing is unavailable. Staff that are working for long term might show reluctance to new changes implemented or accept the ideas of new staff, negative attitude can cause a barrier towards change. Another barrier is service users get familiar with staff, they might show affection towards staff in presence of their families, this can be upsetting for some family members and they develop sense of guilt and reassuring them can be difficult.
2 Be able to improve communication systems and practices that support positive outcomes for individuals
2.2. Evaluate the effectiveness of existing communication systems and practices
The existing communication systems can only be effective if used. The Home manager has the responsibility to all online processing such as devising new forms for staff to use, raise Safeguarding alerts and access to other useful data. Staff has good communication through sharing ideas in group discussions and communication book is effectively used as a message conveyer. All information about service users is recorded in personalised care plan with labelled dividers and has a pattern that is easily accessible for staff and other health professionals and senior staff has the responsibility to record changes in the care plan on daily basis as requires and Deputy Manager monitors all the daily records to ensure any information recorded is factual. Our handover procedure follows on every shift change and discussion takes place in numerical orders of rooms. Residents meeting is held once a weak and their concerns are addressed to home manager by staff and action is taken accordingly. Home had complaint and compliment procedure and encourages families to take part in such surveys. The home manager receives all fax and important emails from external agencies and then communicates their message to staff over the phone or meetings. The existing communication systems at workplace meet the standard of the home and comply with legal requirements.
2.3. Propose improvements to communication systems and practices to address any shortcomings.
To propose improvements to existing communication systems, the policies and procedures can be revised with a listing of all staff names to ensure staff reads and sign as evidencing is important. Our home mainly has paper-based work recording and different folders for each documentation therefore it can easily be misplaced, to avoid this, important documentation could be linked with other relevant topic and condensed into one folder. The home manager should provide senior staff with computer facility to avoid any shortcomings with important paperwork and should provide access to fax as it causes communication gap and delays to electronic messaging. In absence of Home Manager senior staff should be able to access CQC portal to urgent notifications as there has been an event where we had to contact and send information abroad to the Home manager to complete the procedure of notifications. Online planner could be devised to set important reminders and up coming trainings. Also, online monitoring of Governance audits to evaluate the competency score would be a useful option.
2.4. lead the implementation of revised communication systems and practices
The revised communication systems and practices can be implemented by sharing knowledge and previous experience. Workshops could be arranged with short but meaningful discussion also get involved with multi working agency. It would be useful to encourage staff to adapt to change through team meetings. Arranging creative trainings and introducing short activities for staff and residents could help in relieving stress. The practice can be improved by designating new roles within the service with offer of incentive to promote encouragement towards the implementation of new processes.
3 Be able to improve communication systems to support partnership working
3.2. Compare the effectiveness of different communications systems for partnership working
The computerised communication systems with partnership working can be effective as information can be shared and available to all health professionals however it is our responsibility to ensure information is kept confidential. It will help involve all partners on one platform and ideas could be shared through feedback and urgent response is given. The records shared online could be password protected and only available to designated partners. It facilitates the option of retrieving of information meaning that the information could be securely saved into system whereas paper-based records can be easily misplaced. Another effective communication system could be one to one or group discussions with partners to discuss suitable styles of communication and set up goal to avoid any communication barriers. Advanced planning is also effective way of communication with partners and promotes efficiency.
3.3. Propose improvements to communication systems for partnership working
Communication systems for partnership working can be improved by adapting systems mentioned previously. It is important to recognise the strengths of yourself and partners for partnership working. The idea of written proposal to them and asking for their proposal as well in team meetings would provide an opportunity to discuss the barriers and share the views. It can also be improved by discussing issues and finding mutual solutions.
4 Be able to use systems for effective information management
4.1. Explain legal and ethical tensions between maintaining confidentiality and sharing information
The Data Protection Act 1998 is set out to control how information is handled within the organisation and have also set out principles to adhere to when dealing with information. An aspect of this Act is that information should have a purpose and the information should be accurate when used as it was collected. The individual whose information is held should have access to the data and measures are implemented to prevent information being accessed by unauthorised person. The Care Home Manager has legal duty to work in line with Data Protection Act. The main legal and ethical tensions arise when maintaining confidentiality is the reporting of any abuse as it can result in breaking trust with the organisation and therefore Public Interest Disclosure Act 1999 allows people to raise genuine concerns that could cause potential harm to vulnerable individual and protect the person (whistle blower) breaking the confidentiality to report. The concern about person potentially being abused could be reported to Home Manager or local authorities to conduct further investigation in the individual’s best interest.
4.2. Analyse the essential features of information sharing agreements within and between an organisation
The essential feature of information sharing is maintaining right to confidentiality of an individual. The information could be shared with a network of people involved in the individuals care and the individual itself to be involved in own care decision. The Home manager can have a policy in place to get Authorisation to discuss form signed by the individual and next of kin. Also, if the person lacks capacity, it is important to arrange for a Mental Capacity Assessment involving the individual, carers, family member, GP and other professionals as required. This would enable us as care staff to make decisions in their best interest. Exclusion of people from gaining information about the individual include other service users, visitors, our own known group of people who are not involved with the individual directly or indirectly. Protecting the data for employees is a responsibility of Manager and should be kept in locked cupboard unless agreed to store in any other way.