Mark Topps shares 5 tips to help social care teams improve communication with their service users, and the different types of circumstances to consider.
I have said many times that communication is key as it underpins everything that we do within social care. This can be from understanding someone’s needs and conveying compassion, to reducing anxieties and concerns to ensure the best possible care.
I have previously written about effective communication for care teams in general, as well as how to deal with tricky service users. In this week’s blog post, I thought I would dive into how we can improve the way we communicate with service users specifically.
Before we even begin to start improving how we communicate, we need to ensure that we – and our teams – are upskilled.
Training your staff in communication will help improve these skills within the care workforce and allow them to learn about effective communication techniques and exercises that can be incorporated into their working roles.
Reflecting on training I’ve had previously, the two key takeaways were the following:
Having resources on hand can also help you meet the new Single Assessment Framework.
Communication with service users isn’t just about talking.
Listening plays an important part in effective communication. For many people, especially those who are hard of hearing, they will rely on your lips to read your words.
Here are my top 5 tips on effective active listening:
95% of all communication is non-verbal. Non-verbal communication can come from a mix of interactions, including:
Much like the importance of person-centred care, person-centred communication is no different. You need to establish how the person you are supporting prefers to communicate.
To help you get going, hare my top 5 key tips to ensuring individualised communication:
Communication challenges may arise due to factors like impaired hearing, poor eyesight or speech disorders such as aphasia (the inability to speak), preventing effective communication.
It is crucial to assess and explore alternative communication methods such as visual aids like photographs, sign language, and PECS.
In my top five above, I touched on ensuring care plans are up to date, and it is so important to involve the service user in this process.
Through effective communication, your team will build trusting relationships and rapport with the service users. This trusting relationship will result in honest lines of communication and people expressing their thoughts, concerns or wishes. These should be captured and documented.
For many of our teams, they will be supporting people living with a learning disability, where verbal communication may not be their preferred method. Your team will recognise people’s unique preferences and begin to understand verbal and non-verbal cues. It is so important to capture those small moments as this will ensure continuity of care and best practice for that individual.
To support people in their care planning, it is important to provide communication in a clear and transparent way. Often in the world of health and social care, there can be lots of jargon and medical explanations. This can confuse service users and often leads to a breakdown in their needs being met.
I feel like I am just scraping the surface of this conversation, but conscious of how much reading and information this is.
I really hope this is an article you can share with your team to enhance their skills and create awareness of the different ways you can learn to communicate, and better support your service users.
Subscribe to The Handover newsletter by Sam Hussain, CEO of Log my Care, for valuable social care insights and resources.
Have a flick through some of our other articles.
Mark Topps discusses the importance of risk assessments in social care, and provides tips for how care teams can better reduce or mitigate risks.
Discover the best way to set effective person-centred goals and track your service users’ progress with Log my Care’s Outcomes and goals feature.