Communications in Social Care


Module Title:                        Communication in Social Care

Learner Group Code:       

Submission Date:                     All parts of the assessment must be completed and submitted by 12.00 noon on Monday 12 April 2021

1. Assignment (80%)

‘Social care organisations are gradually recognising that Service Users are active participants in their health and social care. As a result, social care professionals, teams and organisations are ensuring that communication strategies are more person centred than ever before’. (Lalor & Share, 2015)


In the discussion ensure that you:

  • Identify the key stakeholders involved
  • Outline how you would ensure that service users, relatives, carers and other professionals are involved in planning for the service users’ goals and interventions
  • Describe three ways you could make communication more accessible for a service user considering issues of language, culture, beliefs, health or social care needs.

2000 – 2500 words


Introduce topic – Start with communication as a fundamental aspect of how we all live, variety of communication processes. 

Then a few paragraphs on how important effective communication is for service users particularly in being at the centre of their health and social care support. The code of ethics for SCW sets out to ensure that social care practitioners act and behave at all times to preserve and respect the inherent dignity and worth of persons ,pursuit of social justice, integrity of professional practice, confidentiality in professional practice and competence in professional practice ( CORU 2016).Organisations and social care professionals role in this is very important, in domain 5:13 of the standards of proficiency ‘be able to integrate self-awareness, communication, working in partnership and professional judgement into professional practice to meet the needs of the service user and empower them to meet there full potential.

Provide a definition of communication particularly in relation to supporting vulnerable people, e.g. communication being person centred, working in collaboration with other disciplines is a large part of a scw role, identifying when information shared and being able to ‘express informed and considered opinions to Service users, health professionals, carers and families.

Provide a clear roadmap on the strategy taken for the assignment and the discussion elements, and note examples from practice will be interweaved with the discussion and analysis.

Main body Overview of overall discussion elements –

Discuss outcome of effective communication and link to empowerment – should always be to empower the service user.  As a scw promote real empowerment through effective facilitation so that it can impact positively on an individual’s life. Discuss empowering practice in your role. Discuss the concept of shifting from the concept of caring for, to caring with, doing for to doing with, particularly in relating to planning with the service user in relation to their own goals and interventions.  Essentially – shifting the power balance.  Refer to CORU Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics.

Start with communication in social care settings and its importance, particularly in relation to person centred approaches.  Developments in making communication as user friendly as possible could be described. With regards to treating service users in a caring and respectful manner it could be said that communication is one of the most respectful and caring aspects of SCW role, without effective communication skills service users can become frustrated, mis-understood, some even forgotten about treated as less due to being not heard. Good listening and observational skills is being part of building positive relationships with service users.  

You could add some reference to legislation and standards to back this up, for example, HIQA standards for disability services, older person’s services.  Could also refer to the CORU Code (2016) and elements of effective communication, communicate effectively with service users and others involved, areas such as (could refer to some of these pts.):

b. communicate sensitively, effectively, honestly, and appropriately with service users, taking into account the particular needs of children and vulnerable adults, this would relate to domain 2:9,understanding as a scw maintaining confidentiality and when it should be shared the standards sets out to ensure that the values are upheld and strives to ensure SCW act in an ethical manner.

C. ensures that services are put in place so that you can communicate effectively with service users, avoiding the use of family members as interpreters as far as possible.

D. use language that is clear and easy to understand

E. responds to service users’ questions professionally, honestly and openly

F. communicate clearly and effectively with other members of the team involved in the care of the service user in order to ensure the safety and continuity of care. Domain 2:13/2:15:understand the need to sustain professional relationships as an independent practitioner and work in collaboration, the values ofprofessionalism,professional ethical decision making ‘ is how people behave in general and particularly in their work has implications for wellbeing of others, especially those who are vulnerable’.( Charleston 2014,pg 1).Professionalism according to ( )is the conduct, behaviour and attitude of someone in work and it impacts on professional reputation.

A SCW should practice in a professional manner:

  • Be open minded non-judgmental.
  • Respecting the service users values
  • Leaving your own values and beliefs aside when dealing with issues i.e. Abuse allegations, behaviours of concern.

Note a few elements of communication processes in organisations, at organisational level, team level and social care practitioner level.  Add some analysis with regard to barriers to communication.SCW can change their perspective by following CORUS standards of proficiency, which underpins the values of their work ethics by seeing ‘behavioural concerns ‘as unmet needs of the service user as a form of communication.2:17’be able to recognise all behaviour, including challenging behaviour as a form of communication’.

Working professionally the social care worker needs to have the following characteristics,honesty,trustworthy,working professionally a scw needs to be accountable, respecting their choices, diversity, culture and values, the code of professional conduct is a framework for working in line with the principles of social justice, this is done by communicating service users about their rights, encouraging them to make decisions, seeking service users consent for any intervention that is to be carried out. Treating service users with respect and dignity is based on the equal status act 2000-2008 and linked to Kant’s principle of equality ‘ we treat everyone the same in virtue as our worth as human beings, that we do not see some people as less or more deserving of consideration or appreciation because they are rich or poor, male or female. Gay or straight have a disability or are asylum seekers or identify with a different culture to our own’ (Charleston 2014, pg36).

Having an awareness of our own characteristics and how we are influenced by our own values and cultural attitudes will govern our interactions between people and society.

Identify key stakeholders involved

 Domain 2:3 recognise service users as active participants in their health and social care and are able to support service users in communicating their health and/or social care needs.

Social care workers can ensure their practice reflects the code by upholding human rights, respecting the right or self- determination of service users and treating each service user in a caring and respectful fashion( CORU 2016).This involves as a practitioner allowing and encouraging service users to make choices about their lifespan example of a SCW supporting the right and reflecting the code would be, providing a service user with the support to have effective pcp or if the person has communication difficulties, employing an advocate for the person, to ensure the service user is involved in decisions and makes informed choices. The ADM ( capacity act ’15),the scw no longer should work in a best interest approach, but ‘will and preference approach’, where nobody can consent on behalf of an adult unless they have legal authority  to do so.

 What is Capacity?

The Act defines Capacity as ‘decision-making capacity’ and it is the ability to understand, at the time that a decision is to be made, the nature and consequences of the decision to be made by him or her in the context of the available choices at that time.

 If I lack capacity, what does that mean?

 A person cannot lack capacity as a decision maker. A person may lack capacity to make a particular decision at a particular time or their capacity may be in doubt. This capacity may be regained at a different time and for a different decision. Why might my capacity be ‘in question’?

 Everyone is to be presumed to be able to make all decisions unless the contrary is shown. A functional test can be used to assess a person’s capacity to make a decision and this means that the person has the ability to understand the nature and consequences of the decision in the context of the available choices at that time.

How is capacity decided?

 A person can be said to lack capacity to make a decision if they are not able to

 •understand the information relevant to the decision,

•retain that information long enough to make a voluntary choice,

•use or weigh that information as part of the process of making the decision,

•communicate his or her decision in whatever way they communicate (not only verbally). Communication includes talking, writing, using sign language, assistive technology, or any other means and information relevant to the decision must be given in a way the person can understand e.g. using clear language, visual aids etc.

Provide some discussion and analysis on the need for service users in particular as stakeholders involved in their own health and social care, to be actively involved in their own supports, in making decisions and choices about factors that affect their lives. For example, Social Care Institute for Excellence, UK (2019) have some good detail on stakeholders, e.g. the importance of meaningful involvement of staff, people who use services and their carers which is helping to make sure that new approaches are well informed and maintained at a certain level. Could note – importance of involvement of stakeholders from an organisational perspective and also individual level, as the individual can be affected by the organisation’s actions, objectives and policies.

Domain 2:13 corus code standards of proficiency, understand the need to develop and sustain professional relationships, this involves knowing your limits of practice and when to seek advice from other professionals.

Outline the key stakeholders in social care, e.g. the service user him/herself as someone receiving or using health and social care supports – try and provide a good reference for this.  Other key stakeholders could be the staff, managers, multidisciplinary teams, specific organisations/supports, regulatory/inspection bodies, government and its agencies such as Health Service Executive.  Indeed, when we talk about Nursing Homes, owners of care services can very much be stakeholders.  The public to some extend can also be stakeholders.

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