The Home is a place of care from which good communications are imperative for good care. Each employee contributes to a therapeutic environment and it is essential that they understand the importance of good communications.

Communications should be at a pace and level that enables a variety of individuals, (i.e. clients, employees and others) to understand, comprehend and or / act on the information being given. Consideration should be given to personal, psychological, financial, spiritual, social and / or environment factors associated with any situation.

Communications should be current, complete, accurate and relevant to the issues discussed and feed back should be valid to the area of discussion. Where relevant, written signed and dated minutes or statements will be needed to confirm the discussion/s. The style, delivery and the tone (this includes inflexion and gravity) should be reflective of the situation. Any discussion must be in an appropriate place, especially if confidential information is being discussed. The spatial distance and position between individuals should reflect the need and situation. Any abilities and / or disabilities of individuals must be taken into account.

Individual personal belief systems, manner of expression and personal preferences should be accepted when not conflicting with the organisational policy of the Home and not contrary to law.

Knowledge of the individuals previous and current behaviour may help interactive discussion between individuals. This should lead to a pro-active situation enabling different solutions to be decided which are not necessarily totally correct, but it may be suitable for the present, allowing for a change of heart or direction at a later time.

However, when the communication, including personal feelings is of an anti-social or negative impact to the individuals or others health and welfare, the carer should take actions to prevent harm to individuals and the effects on others. Obstacles to effective communication should be minimised or removed, as far as can be possible.

Where a change or changes are felt to be a requirement or a need, the appropriate person (through seniority or qualification) should be contacted either by formal or informal personal discussions, written requests or as part of a group meeting. The process is dealt with in an appropriate manner without giving off negative or defamatory verbal or non-verbal language, which may cause the undermining of an individual. Under no circumstance should bad language be used.

Assistance may be requested or required. It may be that a situation is led by a carer, but at a point is taken over, either by request or by need for a more appropriate person. In any situation, professional relationships should prevail and both parties should be aware of the reasons for a change of tact. There are times when a carer may feel that it was unfair or demeaning for others to take over the managing role. It is then important after the situation has stabilised to counsel the carer, so they understand the necessary process that lead to them taking a lesser role.

Where there are issues to be resolved, or when a carer or manager feels a need, the carer should write a reflective account of their actions, in order to understand themselves and the dynamics of the situation. Where a situation appears insoluble, disciplinary action and /or outside arbiters may be called to resolve any conflict.

COMMUNICATION DIFFICULTIES

Always treat anyone in a manner that you would wish to be treated, with privacy, dignity and respect. Always use an appropriate gesture, manner or language (including sign language or braille where relevant) to aid communication. Where appropriate, modify communication style and tone to appear at an equivalent or appropriate level in the communication to enhance understanding.

When taking into consideration of an individuals abilities to contemplate, understand and / or comprehend, be aware of any specific reasons including ethnic and social background, culture, life experience and communication preferences, (e.g. title-Mr or Sir, mode-direct contact, telephone, letter, email, other – through intermediaries, similar age).

Make the environment appropriate for communication, a quiet large or small room, close contact or distance, casual or formal seating and or clothing.

Have an appropriate setting. Lighting, bright or dim, natural or artificial, effective room temperatures. No distractions, radio, computer, people walking by, untoward interventions, telephone calls. Where equipment is used, ensure it is working properly, such as overhead projector, computer software, demonstration equipment.

Communication is enhanced where appropriate by agreeing, disagreeing, nodding of the head, eye contact, posture, and hand gestures. It can also be enhanced by signs, symbols, and pictures, images, actual objects and written statements. It is devalued by no expression, looking away, interrupting, diminishing and undermining what is said, ignoring points and looking bored. Ensure through dialogue, and questioning any statement that may or may not be fact, try simple questions and answers and more complex, in depth technical questions and answers where appropriate. Analyse

Whether a statement is factual and accurate in order to come to a successful conclusion. Get further opinions where relevant and appropriate.

Feedback, review and evaluation are systems used to look back over what has been communicated to see if it has had value and use. Where communications do not improve or prevent deterioration, others of a more senior level may be asked to intervene. Any recording of the communication should be signed by either all parties or by the person with authority to write on behalf of the Home.