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Barriers to communication in health and social care

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A barrier in health and social care is communication. An example of this would be if the service user was deaf or had a hearing impediment. However there are many ways to overcome this, one way would to make sure that they had their hearing aid (if required) turn on and on the right level, and not to assume that the service user can hear you properly. Making sure there hearing aid is on is useful as it means you will not have to shout, or patronize the patient, though a negative for this strategy is some hearing aids are not visible so you shouldn’t assume the service user doesn’t have one.

Also speaking clearly and slowly would be a way to overcome a hearing barrier as some service users may have learnt to lip read. However this would make it easy for some patients to misread a word or phrase causing them not to understand the point clearly. In my opinion speaking slowly and clearly and not assuming the patient can hear would be the two best strategies for the health and social care environment. Another Barrier for communication would be blindness or a fault with the patients’ vision.

You could overcome this by using brail or using clear language to describe objects or places. Also you can help the service user touch your face in order to recognise you. However a problem with brail is that it could be time consuming if you wanted to make a point quickly. Using clear language to describe objects or places the patient might have a hearing impediment or not be able to understand what you are saying. Finally allowing patients to touch your face could be a problem as people might not be comfortable with the invasion of their personal space.

A third barrier for communication would be a cognitive barrier. This could not understand what is said or explained due to complications of a stroke/dementia, confusion of things like a UTI. To overcome this you must be calm and patient towards the service user, making language less complex for example not using abbreviated words and using pictures to explain the point. However depending on the condition of the patient, for example a sever stroke the patient may not be able to comprehend the understating of the picture.

However using less complex language could make the patient feel patronized resulting in embarrassment. The best strategy in my opinion would be to stay calm and not to get frustrated as this could cause the patient to become intimidated. Environmental barrier could be the lights to bright or dim, affecting their vision, reducing noise in case they have a hearing impediment and making sure there are no obstacles in the way to distract or hinder a conversation or understanding.

To overcome this you can check with the patient whether the lighting is acceptable, if the noise is to loud you can move the patient to a less crowded and noisy part of the room and finally you could make sure the room has only the essentials in case the patient feels claustrophobic, distracted or have a fear of an item that could causing them to be agitated. I think that you should check with the patient whether the environment is comfortable for the patient. A physical barrier could be a disability that the patient has for example ADHD and pre-linguistic speech.

To overcome this you could background check the disability so that you understand the complications and the affects you might have with the particular patient, and also for future references. You could also not stereo-type the patient as everyone if different and some disabilities can be more sever for more far gone then others. The best suggestion In my opinion is to background check the disability, as it may help you communicate with the patient more effective. A final communication barrier could be a language barrier.

To overcome this you could use short clear sentences, not using jargon/slang language and to use a translator or interpreter to help the patient communicate. However using simple language could make the patient feel patronized, translators might use a direct interpretation and miss say a sentence causing the point that was being made to become unclear. Therefor I feel that not using jargon/slang and speaking clear language would be best for the patient but not to the extent of being patronizing.

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