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Barriers To Communication

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As I said earlier, you have to be aware of your environment; is it quiet enough to hear or understand each other or is it too quiet that it’s going to be too awkward to have the conversation? You also have to check the temperature of the room, is it too hot? Too cold? Some people can’t focus
when the temperature is suiting them. Noise

You cannot have a conversation with someone when there’s a lot noise in the background. You have to make sure that you can hear each other clearly. It can also be hard for someone who have learning difficulty because there’s a lot of background noise to process. Noise can also cause stress, people who have very poor concentration may find this stressful. Seating

“Rooms with awkward seating positions might mean that a group of people cannot see each other comfortably.” (Stretch, et al. 2010 P.21) You have to make sure that the chairs are arranged properly where everyone can see each other. You also have to consider their personal difficulties. For example, when a person has mobility difficulties, he/she doesn’t want a chair that is too deep or too low for them. Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important things when communicating with someone especially for those who have hearing/speech difficulties. When someone is signing and/or lip reading, how are they going to understand it if there’s no proper lighting? You have to make sure that the lights are not too bright that it’s going to hurt your eyes but not too low that you cannot see their facial expressions. Space

When you’re working in a health/care setting, space/proximity while conversing is important. As a professional, you cannot be too close that you’re invading their personal spaces. You also cannot be too far because the service user might not hear you. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION . . If you’re working in a health/care setting, communicating effectively is important. You have to make sure that the service user understands you so that they feel that they’re included. But as a professional, you cannot avoid that so you have to find a way to overcome it. There are different forms of barriers in communication and we are going to go through it here. If you’re working in a health/care setting, communicating effectively is important. You have to make sure that the service user understands you so that they feel that they’re included. But as a professional, you cannot avoid that so you have to find a way to overcome it. There are different forms of barriers in communication and we are going to go through it here. Type of Communication (Difficult, Complex, Sensitive)

“People often find it easier to avoid communicating something that they think is going to be controversial or bad, putting off the communication and letting the situation fester.” (Skills You Need. 2014) For example, when you learned that one of your colleague’s mum has died, you tend to avoid them because you don’t know what to say. But remember that even though you don’t need to say anything to show your sympathy to them. Your non-verbal movements will show how sincere you are in consoling them. For example, you can just put your arms around their shoulder to let them know that there is someone they can go to. You can also just listen to them because, even though no one’s responding, it’s good to know that there is someone listening to us. Complex communication is a type of communication where you someone is trying to communicate with you about something but you don’t know how much they know about the topic. For example, when someone ask you what car model is good to buy, you know that you can suggest some but you don’t know what they’re preferences and/or what do they need. You have to ask them in order to know what they want. Language Needs/Preferences

“The number of people living in England and Wales who could not speak any English was 138,000, latest figures from the 2011 census show.” (BBC. 2013) When you’re working in a health/care setting, you are going to encounter some service user who cannot speak English. This can be a barrier because how are you going to understand each other if you don’t speak the same language. It can also be a problem when a person uses a lot of slang or jargon. For example, when a service user said to you, “My pipe just broken,” it can mean that his plumbing is broken or he/she just needs to go to the toilet. If you didn’t get the proper meaning of it, there’s going to be a misunderstanding that can lead to many things like confusion. Sensory Impairment

“When someone cannot receive or pass on information because they have an impairment to one or more of their senses, most commonly a visual or a
hearing disability.” (Haworth, et al. 2010 P.10) When s service user have any sensory deprivation, communication can be very difficult because, for example, when someone who have hearing difficulties, you cannot communicate with them as usual. If you talk to them, they might understand you through lip reading but it will be very hard. You have to consider the setting, are you in a room with proper lighting so that they can see you? This can create a barrier within the communication. Disability

When someone has disability, whether it’s mental or physical, it can be a barrier to communication. For example, when a service user has a learning disability and found it hard to communicate with others that can be a barrier because how are you going to understand each other clearly. The service user will then have a preferred way of communicating, like sign language, and if you don’t know how to do it or no one is available to translate it for you, this is going to be barricade between you and the service user. Personality

Different people have different personality, this personality differences can be a barrier to communication. An example of this is ‘Sheldon Cooper’ from the American sitcom ‘Big Bang Theory’. He has his own quirks, approaches and point-of-views that other people might find creepy or weird. When you’re working in a health/care setting, you cannot avoid people with different personality. You have to deal with them, whether you like it or not. They might be very irritating but as a professional you have to provide service for them as well. Self-esteem

Low self-esteem can be a barrier to communication as they might get scared to express their feelings and/or ideas. For example, if a service user has a low-esteem, he/she will be scared to say that they’re feeling any pain. They might just say that they’re fine even though they’re in extreme pain. This can cause a lot problem especially in the service user’s side; it can worsen their situation that can lead to different things. Anxiety

When someone is anxious of something, they will be stressed which can cause a barricade in communication. For example, when a service user is constantly anxious about something, he /she can lose focus and concentration. They can also get irritated easily so a chance of having a long meaningful conversation is decreased. Depression

When someone is depressed, they tend to isolate themselves from the crowd. In health/care setting, this can be a problem because you don’t know what will happen with them during their isolation. Just like anxiety, this can prevent them from expressing their ideas. For example, when a service user is suffering from depression, they might keep their feelings/ideas to themselves as they might think that they’re just a waste of time. Aggression

“Aggression is a form of communication in that it communicates a person’s state of mind, such as annoyance.” (Haworth, et al. 2010 P.12) It can be barrier to communication especially when the person is not calm down for a long time. This can cause some problems, physically or mentally. It can be physical problem because the person who’s being aggressive can take his annoyance to someone who’s in his way; it can be mental problem because the aggressive person might say something to someone that can make them feel worthless or something that is traumatic. Submissive

“Submissive behaviour means shying away from saying what you really mean and not seeking to achieve your needs, particularly when someone has conflicting needs.” (Changing Needs. 2014) When a service user become submissive, this can be very hard because, just like anxiety and depression, they will omit their selves to the crowd and rather keep it away from everybody. They will also constantly blame themselves for the things that they haven’t done which can be a bit of a problem because you always have to explain to them that it’s not their fault but still they will feel the same. Assumptions

“Jumping to conclusions and making assumptions can save mental effort and time, but assumptions may cause us to misinterpret what another person is trying to communicate.” (Stretch, et al. 2010 P.25) When a jolly service user becomes really quiet one day, you cannot make assumptions that they’re just having a bad day. You have to consider different possibilities like thy might not be feeling well. For people who can express their feelings/ideas easily, this is not going to be a problem because they will express it eventually. But for people who cannot, like people with learning difficulties, this can be a challenge because they‘re not going to be able what’s wrong that easily. They need help from other people or through other aids. Value and Belief System

“When people have different belief systems and values it is easy for them to misinterpret one another’s intentions when attempting to communicate.” (Stretch, et al. 2010 P.26) As professionals, we should make way to understand our service users and if that includes learning and understanding one’s beliefs and values, we have to do that. Jargon

Jargon is “when a service provider uses technical language the service user may not understand.” (Haworth, et al. 2010 P.10) As I said earlier, you always have to explain the terms you’re going to use to the service user. For example, CT scan is a scan that “uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body,” (NHS. 2013) but if you don’t explain it to the service user, they might think something else that can confusion. Cultural Variations

Culture means “beliefs, customs, arts, etc. of a particular society, group, place or time.” (Merriam Webster. 2011) Different people have different culture, it depends from how old are they, where they’re from, how they’ve been brought up, etc. But this can be a barrier to communication because “when the same thing means different things in two cultures” (Haworth, et al. 2010 P.11) this can cause confusion and misinterpretation. As a professional, you have to be careful with everything you say. You might say something that you think is acceptable for you, but this can be something offensive for someone else. Use and Abuse and Power

“The General Social Care Council (GSCC) Code of Practice for Social Care Workers (2002) requires all workers to respect individuality and support people who use service to control their own lives.” (Stretch, et al. 2010 P.27) As a professional, you cannot control others even though they’re at a very vulnerable place. You have to empower them and make sure that they make decisions for themselves. Effects of Alcohol/Drugs

When a person is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, this can be a barrier to communication. When you’re working in a health/care setting, you cannot avoid this type of service user. You have to find ways to overcome this barrier to have an effective communication. COMMUNICATION AND INTERPERSONAL INTERACTION .

Staff Training
There are skills that are essential to health/care setting that you don’t have. You can develop them through trainings. As professionals, you have to make sure that you have these skills because it will help you to understand the service user more. For example, when you’ve had training in non-verbal communication, you will understand the non-verbal messages of the service users. It will help you to overcome barriers in communication. Assessment of Needs

Assessing the service user is very important because that’s when we’re going to know what they’re needs. It will help a lot in overcoming barriers in communication because we will know what their preferred way of communicating is. Using Preferred Method of Communication

Once you’ve known the preferred method of the service user, you have to make sure that you use it. This will help you to understand them and for them to understand you. Promoting Rights “As well as general human rights, people who use services have a range of rights that are established in national standards, codes of practice and legislation.” (Stretch, et al. 2010 P.29) As a professional, you have to make sure that these legislations and codes of conducts/practice are in place. Confidentiality

You have to make sure that the service users’ identity is confidential. When you keep their details confidential, they will gain trust and respect towards you. They will share more things about themselves that will help you in your work. The service user might also be put into risk when you share
they’re personal details, routine, etc. Defusing Aggression

“In health and social care contexts, a great deal of aggression is caused by stress, often because people feel powerless and out of control.” (Stretch, et al 2010 P.32) As I stated earlier, aggression can be barrier to communication, you have to calm the service user down so that you can understand each other clearly. Assertiveness

Assertiveness means “the quality or state of being forceful (as in expression.” (Merriam Webster. 2014) In health/care setting, you cannot avoid service users that will be forceful and insisting. For example, when a service user is arguing with you insisting that they’re correct and you’re wrong, you have to find ways to calm them down and explain to them what’s happening. As a professional, you have to learn how to handle this type of service user without using any force and resistance. Appropriate Verbal and Non-verbal Communication

When you’re working in health/care setting, communication is very essential. But you have to be very careful when expressing them because you might deliver some message that will be inappropriate. For example, when you come near the service user not smiling with wrinkled forehead because the sun is in your face, they might think that you’re angry at them. You have to make sure that you’re always smiling and greeting everyone. You also have to be relaxed when talking to them, avoid tensed shoulders. You might say positive words but if you deliver negative non-verbal movements that will be useless. Building Relationships

When you’re working in a health/care setting, it is important that you build relationship with the service user. This will help you in your work because the service user will trust you; they will find connection with you that won’t find with others. Appropriate Environment

In order to communicate properly, you have to make sure that your environment is right. For example, when a service user communicates through lip reading and your environment is dark, the service user will not understand you. You have to consider the service user’s welfare. Attitude

When you’re working in a health/care setting, attitude is very important. You cannot be rude just because the service user didn’t understand you when you say something for the first time. You have to remain calm and friendly so that the service user won’t feel intimidated by you. Confidence

When the service user doesn’t have the confidence to speak up, this can be a barrier. He/she will not have the nerve to speak up what are they feeling and/or ideas. This will be a barrier because you will not know what they up to or if something is bugging them. You have to empower them and make them feel that they’re the one who’s controlling their life. Through this, the service user will gain self-esteem and will speak up for him/herself. AIDS TO COMMUNICATION . Human Aids

There are services available to the service users in order for them to understand what other people are saying and for other’s to understand them. Advocates
Advocate is the person “who speak for someone else.” (Stretch, et al. 2010 P.35) They are the one who always work with service user and represent them. Advocates are the one who makes sure that the rights and needs of the service user are met. They support and help the service user whenever they need one; they’re there to make sure that the service users are safeguarded and free from any harm. Interpreters

Interpreters are the one who “convert spoken or sign language from one language to another.” (Prospects. 2013) It is a very tricky job because you have to learn both of the language to interpret the sign accurately. Interpreters also explain and elaborate the context to make sure that the service user understands it properly. Translators

Translators are the one who “convert written material from one or more ‘source languages’ into the ‘target language’, ensuring that the translated version conveys the meaning of the original as clearly as possible.” (Prospects. 2013) Like interpreter, this can be tricky because you need to learn both languages in order to deliver effective practice. You have to be accurate and clear otherwise the service user will not understand you or they’re going to misinterpret what the person said. Signers

Signers are the people who help the people with learning difficulties understand the spoken words by signing it. As a professional, you have to make sure that you’ll sign accurately and effectively otherwise the service user will be confused or will misunderstand the message. Mentors

“Mentors are usually people who are highly experiences in a particular job or activity; they advise others who are new to the activity or less experience.” (Stretch, et al. 2010 P.36) As a mentor, you ‘re the one who will give advice to the service user on what they should do. For example when the service user likes gardening but have a problem in mobility, you’re the one who will advise them what they should do. But you have to be careful when giving them advises. You have to make sure that the ones you are giving are just an option. Remember that they’re the one who should control their life, not us; we’re just the one who helps them. Befrienders

“A befriender will work ‘as if’ he or she was a friend.” As a befriender, you need to have good listening skills. You will act as their friend so they will tell you different stories and your job is to listen to them. You’re also the one who will accompany them whenever they want to go out. You need to make relationship with the service user so that they trust you and get comfortable around you. Technological Aids

Hearing Aids
“Hearing aids are battery-powered electronic devices with small microphones to pick up and increase the volume of sound received by a person.” (Stretch, et al. 2010 P37) Hearing aids are often use by people who have learning difficulties. They reduce the background noise which helps the service user to understand the speaker. Text Phones/Minicoms

Text phones/Minicoms “is linked to a keyboard and enables a person to type a message which appears on a small screen at the other end of the line.” (Worcestershire County Council. 2013) They help people with learning difficulties express what they’re feeling and/or ideas. Voice Activated Software

“Voice-activated software enables a person to use speech commands to get their computer to perform a variety of tasks.” (Stretch, et al. 2010 P.37-38) This enables people who have sight difficulties and with dyslexia. They will just speak in front of the computer and the computer will do whatever task the service users ask it to do. Relay Systems

“A relay system makes it possible for deaf people who use TTYs (Teletype device) to call other people who may not have a TTY.” (Gallaudet University. 2010) For example., when a service user wants to have an appointment with their GP, instead of talking the TTY will just let them type whatever they want to say. This helps people with speech and/or hearing difficulties. Loop Systems

“A loop system enables people who use hearing aids to hear sounds more clearly.” (Stretch, et al. 2010 P.37) This are the cables put around places to enable people with hearing difficulties hear and understand the people and the environment around them.


Stretch, B., Whitehouse, M. (2010) BTEC Health and Social Care Level 3 Book 1. Essex: Pearson Education Limited Skills You Need (2014) Communicating in Difficult Situations. Available at: http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/communication-difficult-situations.html (Date accessed: 02/10/14) BBC (2013) 138,000 speak no English – census. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21259401 (Date accessed: 02/10/14) Haworth, E., Higgins, H., Hoyle, H., Lavers, S., Lewis, C. (2010) BTEC Health and Social Care Level 2. Essex: Pearson Education Limited Changing Minds (2014) Submissive Behaviour. Available at: http://changingminds.org/techniques/assertiveness/submissive_behavior.htm (Date accessed: 03/10/14) NHS (2013) CT scan. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ct-scan/Pages/Introduction.aspx (Date accessed:
05/10/14) Merriam Webster (2011) Culture. Available at: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/culture (Date accessed: 05/10/14) Merriam Webster (2014) Assertiveness. Available at: http://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/assertiveness (Date accessed: 05/10/14) Prospects (2013) Interpreter. Available at: http://www.prospects.ac.uk/interpreter_job_description.htm (Date accessed: 05/10/14) Prospects (2013) Translator. Available at: http://www.prospects.ac.uk/translator_job_description.htm (Date accessed: 05/10/14) Worcestershire County Council (2013) Minicom/Text Phone. Available at: http://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/cms/equality-and-diversity/interpretation-and-translation/accessible-formats-directory/deaf-or-hard-of-hearing-people/minicom-or-text-phone.aspx (Date accessed: 05/10/14) Gallaudet University (2010) What’s a TTYY? What’s a TTD? What’s a relay system? Available at: Paralanguagehttp://www.gallaudet.edu/dpn_home/tty_relays_and_closed_captions.html (Date accessed: 05/10/14)

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