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Healthcare Communications Shannon Cofield, RDH Essential Question How can communication affect patient care? What is Communication? Communication is the exchange of information, thoughts, ideas, and feelings Communication can occur: – spoken words or written words Nonverbally – facial expressions, body language and touch Verbally Communication Process – an individual who creates a message to convey Message – the actual information, thoughts or ideas Receiver – the person who receives the message from the sender Sender Feedback Feedback helps to determine if you have effectively communicated. Feedback occurs when the receiver responds to the message. Overcoming factors that interfere with communication The message must be clear. People who are not in the healthcare field may not understand medical terminology. Be sure to use terms they are familiar with. A small child may not understand the word urine and you may have to use a word on their level such as pee. Overcoming factors that interfere with communication (cont.) Make sure you use proper terminology and pronunciation and the use of good grammar. Avoid using meaningless words or phrases. Ex. You know, like, all that stuff, um… Be sure to use the proper rate or speed when delivering a message. Speak in a moderate tone, not too softly or loudly. Different emphases in the tone can change the meaning of the statement. Ex. I love my job Factors that interfere with communication (cont.) Avoid distractions when communicating. Ex. answering a phone, talking to another person, or playing with the television or radio. Communication should take place in a comfortable environment. Not, for example, outside in the snow where the conversation may be cut short due to the cold, or in extreme heat, or under water. Listening Listening means paying attention and making the effort to hear and understand what the other person is saying. Show interest in what is being said. Be alert and maintain eye contact with the speaker. Avoid interrupting the speaker. Avoid thinking about how you are going to respond. Listening (cont.) Try to eliminate your own prejudices and see the other person’s point of view. Eliminate distractions by moving to a quiet area. Reflect statements back to the speaker so they know you are hearing what they say. Ask questions if you do not understand what is being said. Keep your temper under control and maintain a positive attitude. Nonverbal Communication Nonverbal communication involves the use of facial expressions, body language, gestures, eye contact and touch to convey messages or ideas. Barriers to Communication A communication barrier is something that gets in the way of clear communications. Common barriers are physical disabilities, psychological attitudes, prejudice, and cultural differences. Deafness or hearing loss Use body language gestures and signs. Face the person to allow for lip reading. Use short sentences. Write messages if necessary and make sure any hearing aids have good batteries and are inserted correctly. Blindness or impaired vision People who are blind or visually impaired may be able to hear what is being said but they will not be able to see body language, gestures or facial expressions. Be sure to announce your presence and describe events going on around. Explain sounds or noises and use touch if appropriate. Aphasia or Speech Impairments They may know what they want to say but may have difficulty saying it. Let them talk. Encourage them to take their time. Ask questions requiring short answers. Speak slowly and clearly and repeat their messages to be sure they are correct. Encourage use of gestures or signs. Provide them with writing material. Psychological Barriers Psychological barriers to communication are often caused by prejudice (prejudging), attitudes and stereotypes. Cultural Differences Cultures consist of values, beliefs, attitudes and customs shared by a group of people. They may include their own cultural remedies in their health treatment plan. In some countries, eye to eye contact is not acceptable. In some countries, it is inappropriate to touch someone's head, or even a simple hand shake can show a lack of respect. Cultural Differences (cont.) Some foods may not be accepted in another culture. You may need to contact a translator if there is a language barrier.