3.2 Use agreed methods of communication to interact with the individual

Course: NVQ Level 4 Diploma In Health And Social Care (RQF)

Unit 2: Advanced Communication Skills

LO3: Be able to interact with individuals

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3.2 Use agreed methods of communication to interact with the individual

You should be able to demonstrate to your assessor that you use agreed methods of communication to interact with the individuals to whom you provide care and support services.

Agreed methods of communication with the individual and other stakeholders should be identified during an initial collaboration. These include family members, advocates or other health professionals to ensure that they can provide support in case there is a change necessary for their well-being while staying away from any potential stigma associated with mental illness.

The use of ‘agreed methods of communication’ will depend on a number of factors. These may need to be adapted for specific individuals or in response to changes in the mental health condition.

  • To ensure confidentiality and privacy, it is important that you adhere to identified agreed methods of communication. In some cases, these may not be verbal but would include signaling or non-verbal methods.
  • The use of ‘agreed methods’ also extends to the individual who is using a different method than verbal communication, such as sign language and other identified forms of communication.
  • The person may use gestures, drawing, or writing to communicate during conversations. This should be recognized by you and other staff members.

To ensure effective interaction with an individual, it is important that you identify specific strategies. These might include:

  • Greeting individuals in a manner that avoids triggering anxiety;
  • Changing your tone during interactions with people to avoid causing confusion or frustration;
  • Keeping body movements slow and relaxed to avoid making the individual feel threatened;
  • Using alternative communication methods such as sign language and drawings to communicate with someone who is unable to use spoken words
  • Limiting/spacing out conversation topics to avoid overwhelming or confusing an individual.

For those individuals you have not directly assessed or collaborated with, it is important to refer to their care plan in order to understand their communication needs. This will give a better sense of what they want and prefer going forward!

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Other sources of information that you should consider referring to are advocacy organizations that work with the individual, their family, or support worker. You can also attend training sessions organized by these agencies which will provide you with more comprehensive knowledge about communication strategies to use when working with specific individuals.

Take your time during interactions with an individual and make sure that they are comfortable. It is important for you to ask whether they need a break from the conversation or would prefer using alternative methods of communication such as gestures, drawings, and non-verbal cues during interactions with them.

In order to be efficient in your work, it is advisable that you identify ‘agreed methods of communication’ before the interaction even takes place. This will help you avoid confusion and ensure that the individual is comfortable with all your interactions.

Some of these methods may be identified during the initial collaboration process while others could be in the person’s care plan or mental capacity advocate. You should always inform other stakeholders about any changes in ‘agreed methods of communication’ to avoid causing confusion, frustration, or anxiety.

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