Best Practice in Care April Feature – Person-centred Communication
Effective communication is a key component for best practice in care. Frontline workers have the responsibility to practice person-centred communication to ensure quality service delivery.
In April 2018, National Seniors Australia published a report about consumer experiences of care at home which included several findings about communication. The key findings suggested that there are low levels of communication from providers and that consumers want greater communication from providers. One consumer stated:
The cleaner/carer was always in a hurry and never spoke to the client. Mum became very stressed so we cancelled the agreement and I went back to cleaning Mum’s unit”.
Good communication can help to improve customer retention as well as increase the quality of service provision. The report also revealed that 67% of people using care at home agreed that care workers explained things to them however there were barriers that existed in communication including language. It was also suggested that high levels of human contact are preferential, even if technology is being utilised.
Below are some tips for person-centred communication for frontline workers based on the 7 C’s of Communication.
Always consider the potential barriers for communication and adapt your communication style as required. Some barriers to communication include:
- health status, physical ability, cognitive status and emotional well-being
- personality and mood
- culture or knowledge of English
- environment e.g. ambient noise, size of rooms or lack of lighting
Resources for effective communication
There are a number of resources available to support frontline workers to communicate in a way that is more person-centred.
Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing – free downloadable communication cards in 45 different languages.
Dementia Australia –2019-Lets-Talk-Booklet DF communication with tips for communicating with people living with dementia