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Effective communication is very important in all walks of life, within care it is vital. Teamwork is not possible without good communication nor is person-centred care.

Good carers know not only to listen well but also to observe carefully so that they can understand and identify a person’s needs when it is difficult to understand verbally, remember that words are not the only form of communication, actions and facial expressions may also indicate how a person you are caring for is feeling and what they are trying to communicate to you. It is important that people you care for are involved in discussions about their own treatment and care.

Checking a person’s care plan may help you to overcome difficulties in communication, the care plan may provide information about the person, for example, that they have difficulties hearing in one ear so that you know to talk to the person standing on the side where their hearing is strongest, other ways of aiding communication could include the use of symbols or pictures.

To be able to work effectively within a team, good communication skills are vital, to ensure that care provided between co-workers and professionals who work with a person is co-ordinated. It may also be necessary for you as a carer to assist if the person has, for example, an appointment with a medical professional.

Bad communication often results in problems, good communication builds relationships and promotes dignity in care.

Skills that should be developed to aid effective communication include speaking and listening skills, pronunciation, speaking clearly with confidence and understanding the keywords that relate directly to their job role.

You will need to find out the best way of communicating with each individual. You will also need to know what to do with any information you receive and who you are able to share it with. In some circumstances, you will find out things which you must share with your manager or supervisor, in some cases this may be something that you find difficult.

Poor communication is very often the reason why things go wrong in care situations.