Communication Skills in Health and Social Care Settings.

The act of effective interaction between individuals can be obtained by spoken words or by other means. For communication to occur there has to be at least two people involved. The ability to communicate effectively and efficiently is one of the most important skills that can be gained by a healthcare professional.

What is Communication?

In a simple definition, communication is the process of sending or receiving messages between two or more individuals.

Effective communication is more than just talking, and is essential for the well-being of the individuals you care for.It includes body language, gestures, facial expressions, positioning and appearance.It is important to be aware of non-verbal communication when interacting with your individuals at work.

It is impossible to do without communication in health and social care, we have many reasons to communicate and it is essential communication is done effectively without misunderstanding others or being misunderstood. We communicate with:

Patients, residents, clients
Health care professionals
Managers and supervisors
Family and friends.

The individuals you work with may have barriers to communicating effectively such as:

Speech difficulties due to disabilities’ or illness e.g. Dementia, stroke
Deafness
Poor Sight
Noisy Environment
Poor Cognitive Skills e.g. learning disabilities
Difference in Language spoken

Therefore good communication skills are required to carry out your responsibilities as a healthcare professional. If you are working with an individual who has dementia, there can be many difficulties especially when the disease progresses, but there are ways to communicate effectively. Some skills to develop are:

Listening skills
Questioning skills
Explaining skills

You would have to ensure that:

The language used is kept simple because unfamiliar words will be difficult to understand coupled with unfamiliar accents as well.
Your speech should be at the correct pace, slow if required and the individual given enough time to respond.
Where possible sentences should be kept short, making just one point at a time. If the person has a short memory its important sentences are short and repeated more than once so that the individual can remember the point being made.
Communication is much difficult with background noise therefore it should be removed as this causes distraction.
If the communication barrier is strong, words alone will not be effective therefore you will need the use of gestures, body language, facial expression, touch etc.

There are many other ways to support individuals at work with effective communication such as the use of:

Human aids- translators, interpreters,

Technical aids- hearing aids, computers

Symbolic aids- Makaton, Sign Language, pictorial aids.

The Units HSC21, HSC31 & HSC41 within the NVQ focus on Communication and record keeping and they are mandatory units. Get more information on effective communication skills from our related resources.

NVQ Level 2 in Health and Social Care – What’s Involved?

Why an NVQ in Health and Social Care?

Are you always bothered about the wellbeing of others? Are you employed in the healthcare field and would like to further your career prospects by obtaining qualifications?

One of the most popular NVQs is Health and Social Care, designed to enable you to deliver care of others to an excellent standard, understand your responsibilities and ensuring those in care are in a safe and healthy environment.

As with most NVQs, the main requirement is that you are already in employment (paid or voluntary), but it is likely that your employer will sponsor your course – especially for the Health and Social Care NVQ.

Usually your tutor will either support you at work or offer you a centre to go to. You may even be entitled to Government subsidisation, so check if you’re eligible!

What NVQ level should I be at?

An NVQ level 2 in Health and Social Care is the level of the following roles:

- healthcare assistants/support workers employed in acute health environments

- healthcare assistants/support workers employed in community and primary care environments

- care assistants/key workers employed in residential settings

- care assistants/key workers employed in domiciliary services

- care assistants/key workers employed in day services

- support workers employed in supported living projects

- community based care assistants/key workers including those employed in specialist areas such as dementia and learning disabilities.

- personal assistants employed by the individual they support or their families

What types of tasks will be required for NVQ Level 2 in Health and Social Care?

Essential:

Identify all sorts of hazards in the workplace

Assess risk levels and recommend action plans

Review your workplace assessment of risks

Carry out specific plan of care activities

Provide feedback on care activities

Contribute to revisions of care activities plan

Communicate with specific individuals

Access/update reports and records

Listen to individuals’ questions or concerns

Support individuals in the way they prefer

Treat people with respect

Assist in protecting individuals

Typical optional units:

Support individuals in how to obtain, store and prepare food

Support individuals in how to obtain household goods

Help others keep their homes safe and secure as well as healthy

Support others to maintain mobility

Support individuals to go to the toilet and getting dressed

Support others in moving from one place to another

Help those who are undertaking medical examinations or recovering from treatments

Recognising and dealing with risks of harm and abuse

The Ailing Welfare Service: Reforms of Health and Social Care Needs Proper Scrutiny

Change is part of a humans’ existence therefore, it is unavoidable and timeless. This concept is interrelated and insensitive to current occurrences within the wider welfare institutions in the UK’s health and social care sectors in particular. At present, health and social services are yet again undergoing a painstaking restructuring that is creating psychological and physical stresses to the entire workforce and consumers. This trajectory is building uncertain future due to continuous re-organizations, change of emphasis and redirections of care delivery to the general public. Ironically, people are not sure where their future and loyalty lies as changes in the system is triggering great worries to all concerned.

On reflection, health and social services went through a huge conscientious change in 1990s (The NHS and Community Care Act), that reconfigured the welfare systems to what many practitioners and managers thought would be a modern establishment. However, the New Labour government in 1997 to 2010 changed the prospect and redesigned it to new approaches such as personalization of services (Direct payments, Cash for Care and Personal Budgets) that transformed services delivery within the sectors. Change can make or break staff commitment, maximization of services, profitability or industrial disputes between the management and employees, this owing to mishaps within industrial relations’ policies and protocols.

Changing organizational cultures as well as philosophy and employee’s terms of reference requires effective governance and scrutiny in order to ensure health and social care reforms work for the benefits of all. The key to making the reforms work as planned would be to safeguard effective analysis of all new policy directives and structures. It is now questionable whether the “New Ways of Working” is capable of changing the fabrics and structures of the welfare services in the UK. The main themes of the overhauls are to reduce costs/budgets, staffing and improving quality and standards of services.

Decision making in some departments or services are proving to be irrational because costs are escalating, standards declining and waiting lists for assessment increasing across many social services departments. Most quality newspapers affirm that the coalition may have done everything they could to start implementing health and social care modifications before being properly examined. But, without careful considerations and good governance the plans would be an unmitigated disaster. That notwithstanding, the speed of restructuring and reallocation of services have produced an unsettling atmosphere for most health/social care workers and managers. The government’ itinerary to continue with reforms and their failure to allow time for study or to win the professional’s backing for these radical plans have been challenging to the wider community of experts and the public at large.

Considering the clamor amongst practitioners and clinicians, the question is, would the governments’ defiant be regarded as democratic or dictetorism? In contrast, it is believed that democracy means “government for the people and by the people”. If that is the case, the coalition would have itself to be blamed for any criticisms regarding their actions. The dismantling of the (PCT) Primary Care Trusts throughout the country in the next two or three years could be termed as political vandalism of tax payer’s money and good governance.

Similarly, most strategic health and local government authorities have expressed concerns regarding cutbacks on their budget, which could have huge ramifications to services for older people and other vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities and mental health. This has also been widely highlighted by a large proportion of the professional bodies such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council, British Medical Association and BBC 2 News Night in particular. The criticisms of the government is now without seasoning because health and social care organizations needs to double their expected cuts in order to remain afloat.

The growth of older people and their increasing demand for care is now unprecedented and becoming a threat to the welfare service and public services. This is despite extraordinary support from informal caregivers who are believed to have saved the government over eleven (£11bn) billion pounds a year. That notwithstanding, change is needed to reduce duplications within the system therefore, what is desirable now is a long term strategic alliance between all stakeholders (the national and local governments, health and social care and family members etc.). This would guarantee and strengthen collaborative services and minimization of costs and wastage within the sectors involved. Yet, judging from the current state of the economy both the macro and micro variable, it is certain that change is foreseeable in order to meet the challenges presented by the turmoil in the financial market and escalation of cost to maintain health and social care.

However, the difficulty in planning, management and administration of the ageing universal service in the UK has been made a lot harder as a result of disproportionately deep cuts to local authorities. The Big Society agenda indicated that the government should devolve responsibilities to the community, individuals, families and the third sector. By all assumptions, this would ensure that service users’ care would continue while restructuring is in progress. In hindsight, the key to making the reforms work would be to safeguard effective control and scrutiny of all the workflow patterns and services delivery. Practically, this has proved overwhelming for the organizations and management as details of the shake-up is superficial in terms of economics and socio-politics in line with social policy in the UK.

Ador Talukdar Platinum Quality Author Platinum Author | 1,546 Articles Joined: March 24, 2011 Bangladesh Hiring People for Health and Social Care Jobs

Health and social care jobs require a higher level of personnel experience than the jobs at the building material store require. Health and social care jobs involve the licensed professionals that will be working with people who are in need of doctors, nurses, nurse’s aids, rehabilitation services, and therapists.

Health and social care jobs cannot be filled by just anyone that answers an employee needed sign. The people that work these types of jobs must be compassionate individuals that are able to empathize with the patient they are dealing with. This goes for the people that have to go to school and receive licenses to hold the health and social care jobs positions they apply for and it counts for the people that apply to sit with an ailing person while their family is away from home.

Individuals applying for the positions of caring for or working with the elderly need to pass background checks to make sure they are not criminals that might would take advantage of the elderly person. These background checks can be done by the company that is looking to hire the employee or they can be done by the recruitment agency the company hires to find appropriate candidates.

The recruitment agencies that oversee the application processes for these types of positions will likely go ahead and do the drug and alcohol screening on all possible employees before they send them to the company for a final interview. This will assure the company that when they start to interview the candidate they can hire them on the spot if they really like them.

The recruiters that look for employee and employer match ups hope that the individuals they send to a company will be liked and hired immediately. It is the goal of these professionals to find candidates to hire that are qualified for the work so they are not wasting the time of the company by sending over people who are less than qualified.

Of course qualifications are not all determined by the educational background the person has or even by the work experience they have. Some of the things that make a person qualified include the area in which they live. The company will want to know that the people they hire will be on time for work and they live close enough that if a need arises they can come in early or they can stay late. People with long commutes are not as flexible as people who live closer to their work places.

The amount of enthusiasm for the job at hand will also be considered as a part of the qualifications for people who wish to work in health related industries. They will be working with the sick and the elderly so their outlook on life and their enthusiasm will reflect on the way they make their patients feel. In the health care industry you must be able to show a level of concern without becoming emotionally engaged with the client.

Health and Social Care – A Recession Proof Career!

Whatever your current situation, whether you are seeking promotion, looking to change career, about to start a new job, taking your first steps into teaching or management, the Health and Social Care sector has something to offer you.

If you have been looking for a job, full time or part time to raise income for your family or build a career around your children, there is room for you in health and social care, the job loss within this sector is very low.

What exactly do I need to do?

The starting point is you need to discover your interest and be willing to develop yourself. There are many aspects within the health and social care sector therefore you will need to decide what client group you would prefer to work with – children, young adults, elderly, individuals with disabilities (physical, cognitive and learning disabilities), specialized care ( stroke, mental disorders, dementia etc)

You will also need to decide the kind of environment – hospitals, care homes, individual homes or education and training.

Once you have made your decision, consider where you are now and what you need to do to get to where you want to be. In most cases your experience and training will count and you need to get both but for some it is how to package their existing experience and training to get the job they desire – You need to improve on areas such as CV writing and interview skills.

Here is a breakdown of courses that you can do to move to the next level.

NVQ Health and Social Care Level 1- This is usually a two weeks training that introduces you to the principles of Health and Social Care. You do not need to be in employment to do this training as it is meant to give you a fundamental understanding of the role of a care worker or support worker. This is the first building block if you are new to Health and Social Care. This course comprises of a one week workshop experience and the second week is a practical experience within a health and social care environment. Afterwards you receive a certificate of attendance. Some of the topics usually covered are:

Basic nursing procedures
Communication
Health and Safety at Work
Moving and handling procedures
Incontinence care
First Aid
Infection Control
Basic food hygiene
Safeguarding and protecting individuals
Confidentiality
Report writing

Most employers will require you present certificates of attendance for some mandatory training in healthcare such as Manual Handling Training, First Aid Training & Basic Food Hygiene. By Law, when you get a job your employer would organize an induction which would provide you with information specific to your role.

Pay rates for this level range from £5 – £8 per hour depending on the employer

NVQ Level 2 – This is the ideal level for you if you are working in Health and Social Care, providing support to professionals, carrying out clinical care, health or personal care to individuals in a hospital or community- based health care setting. It really doesn’t matter if you are new to the job you can enroll on this course. These days if you have been working without an NVQ or other qualification you will be advised by your employer to consider enrolling on NVQ 2 as you may not be allowed to keep your job from the year 2010. Many other employers would only offer jobs to care workers with a minimum of NVQ 2.

This course comprises of 4 mandatory units and 2 optional units based on a skill scan. The mandatory units are:

HSC21- Communication and record keeping

HSC22- Health and Safety at Work

HSC23 – Develop your practice

HSC24 – Protection of Individuals

You will be allowed to choose your 2 optional units from a list based on your skills and job role. This is a very interesting course and you will find it easy if you have been working according to your organizational policies and procedures. Having NVQ 2 Adults would qualify you to work with all groups of adults although you may need to attend trainings in specialized areas coupled with your existing experience, for example if you currently work with the elderly and wish to work with individuals with learning disability, your NVQ 2 adults is relevant except that you will need some additional training which are short courses.

Pay rates for this level range from £6.50 – £10 depending on the employer

NVQ Level 3- At Level 3, the Health and Social Care NVQ has two pathways: “Adults” and “Children and Young People”. This qualification is designed for workers delivering care and support often without direct supervision or probably working on their own in an individual’s own home.

If you are undertaking some supervisory or developmental responsibilities for other care workers or you are involved in other specialist tasks with some degree of responsibility or independence e.g. administration of medicines, NVQ 3 in health and social care is relevant to you.

Common job roles that would qualify you to do the NVQ 3 are senior care workers, team leaders, domiciliary care workers, home care organizers and community support workers.

You will be required to complete 4 mandatory units and 4 optional units based on a skills scan. The mandatory units are:

HSC31 – Promoting Communication

HSC32 – Promoting Health and Safety

HSC33 – Reflect on and develop your Practice

HSC34/ HSC35 – Protecting children (HSC34) or Adults (HSC35)

You will be allowed to choose your 4 optional units from a list based on your skills and job role. This is also a very interesting course and you will find it easy if you have been practicing within health and social care.

There is also a possible progression unto management and teaching roles which requires you achieve qualifications at Level 3 or Level 4. Do you want to know what the A1 Award is about? Or you have heard about PTTLS 7303 and you are wondering what these courses are all about, visit our website today for more information.