Good communication skills are just the beginning for all the skills which care workers need. Without them, it would be really difficult to establish effective relationships with people who use the services. These skills are something which you learn, without training it would be difficult to listen effectively to somebody talking about a difficult experience or sensitive topic, break bad news as sensitively as possible, or communicate with people who have communication difficulties, such as people who suffer from dementia, Parkinsons disease, or following a stroke. It is especially important that staff who work in care homes have good communication skills, this is because a high proportion ...view middle of the document...
Even if the resident can't understand what's being said, they can still pick up on negative vibes or non-verbal signs like facial expressions. Other factors, like the organisational culture of the home, peer pressure from other staff and difficulties in staffing, like shortages of staff can create an environment where completing tasks as quickly as possible becomes more important than communicating or spending time with the resident.
For effective communication when working in a care home, remember this:
always communicate when the resident is at their greatest level of alertness, this will mean they are going to be able to concentrate and enjoy the conversation and get involved. It will also mean they are alert and will interact when they feel like they should during the conversation.
Give sufficient time for the conversation so that they don't feel like they are being rushed when talking to you. This will make them feel like you actually want to speak to them and are enjoying the conversation, which will make them happier. Take breaks if the resident is starting to lose concentration or become confused, give them time to understand what you are talking about if they start struggling, and be sure to explain stuff to them if they need it.
Make sure the place where you are communicating is a good environment for speaking, there should be sufficient lighting so you can see each other, and quietness to enable the communication to take place.
Face the resident, keep eye contact, speak clearly and address them by their preferred name. This will help to maintain effective communication as eye contact will help them to understand that you are talking to them and not thinking or doing anything else, it makes the communication more intimate. Speaking clearly is a must, especially if they have difficulty hearing as it will help them to understand the conversation, if they start to get confused just see what they're confused about and explain in more detail.
Use simple language, this way they don't mishear or get confused. Keep the instructions simple and give simple choices, this will ensure that they can answer as it isn't difficult.
Make sure the resident understands what you are talking about and isn't struggling to keep up with the conversation.
Listen to the resident without interrupting as this can cause them to forget what they were speaking about, or they might feel like you don't care about the conversation as you're interrupting them. Don't rush them to respond, especially if you've asked them a specific question.
Allow the elderly person to reminisce or grieve. When somebody lives to be very old, it is impossible not to experience some form of significant loss. The death of relatives and friends, losing the ability to work or be independent, changes in health and finances, and being unable to make a simple decision can affect an elderly persons self-esteem. These losses can create sadness and...