Factors Influencing Communication Process In Health And Social Care

Factors influencing communication process in health and social care

Factors influencing the communication process in health and social care

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Communication can be considered as an important aspect of health and social care. Whether working with the older people, vulnerable children in women or patients suffering from ill health or disability, the ability of the care provider to communicate is not only essential but also useful. A good communication skills helps to develop working relationships, provide clear information, helps to provide and receive information about the care and the support, and provides emotional support to the victims and carrying out of the assessment of an individual’s care needs (Watson et al. 2012). A social care worker needs to use different types of communication skills both verbal and the non-verbal communication skills.

Verbal communication with the clients can also be classified as one to one communication. A one to one communication with the client helps the client to feel more confident. The conversation should start with an informal tone for making the situation light (Watson et al. 2012). It is essential to develop a non-hostile environment for the client such that he can share or express his feeling effectively.

Culture involves the customs, ideas and the social behavior of the society and is created or transmitted generation after generation by religions, leaders and elderly people of a community. As a health care worker it is necessary to respect the culture and the tradition of the people belonging to the ethnic minority (Taylor et al. 2013).

Many recent literatures can recognize the role of culture as the important factor associated with health and health behavior and also the potential way of augmenting the effectiveness of the health communication interventions (Schyve, 2007). It is to be noted that the role of culture in health and social care is much or rhetorical than practical application. For example the terms like cultural sensitivity and cultural appropriateness can be found in operational definitions and explanatory models (Singleton and Krause 2009). Similarly it is used in the parlance of the public health professionals. In both practice and research the explanatory models of health and culture are lacking. It is the culture that provides people the directives to think, the ways of seeing, hearing and interpreting the world. Culture interferes with the cross cultural communication in health and social care (Taylor et al. 2013). The first barrier is the cognitive restraint, which the frame of reference through which a person perceives the world that provides a standards to which all the new information achieved are compared.

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Each culture has got its own rules and regulations that governs their behavior or their acceptance of a new culture. Behavior constraint can be an important problem while communicating with clients from diverse cultural background. Factors such as eye contact, how close the people stand while talking and various other rules of politeness that differs from culture to culture and can influence the communication. For example a women belonging to different ethnic minorities might not feel comfortable to interact with or share birthing or gynecological information with a health care professional of opposite gender, unlike what happens in western culture (Taylor et al. 2013). The stereotype or the stigma regarding a particular diseases might deprive a person from getting their basic rights. The interpersonal customs and expectations may lead to their mistrust in other forms of treatment.

Cultures and values influencing communication process in health and social care

Again health care encounters can be stressful for the social workers if there is linguistic difference between the client and the therapists. According to a report from AHQR, adverse events are likely to strike the patients with limited English ability due to communication problem (Landmark et al. 2017). Cultural beliefs round health and illness is limited to those shared by the ethnic minorities and the immigrants but should be practiced with all and should be an important part of the curriculum of the health care professionals (Taylor et al. 2013).


Legislation are the set of laws that are made by the government to regulate and improve the lives of the people. One example is the Data protection act that regulates how the personal information of the public are used by the organizations (GOV.UK, 2018). There are important data laws that impacts upon how the health care professionals communicate with the service users. The The Access to health records act, enables the health care professionals to communicate in a confidential manner, such as communicating in private rooms for avoiding eaves dropping or overhearing, preservation of the clinical information in safe cabinets (Access to health records act, 1990). Any individual irrespective of the disabilities, socio-economic status, and religion should be communicated to meet the health requirements. The Equality act, 2010, ensures each of the client gets fair treatment from the service providers.


According to Department of health information charter, the service user is bound to get his/her correct medical information, any provision of wrong medical reports causes breaching of that standard (Personal information charter. 2015). The health care workers have to follow the four requirements of the data protection principles such as protection of the patient information, informing the patients about how the information are going to be used (GOV.UK, 2018).  The voice in to action and the CQC are the other related charters meant for making the communication process smooth between the service users and regulating the social and the health care services, keeping privacy and confidentiality in the priority.

Codes of practice

According to Health and Care Professions Council Standards (HCPC), it is necessary to be polite and considerate with the service users (HCPC 2014). One must work in partnership with the colleagues, share the skills with the clients.  Privacy and confidentiality are the important aspects of the different codes of practice of the nurses.As per the Caldicott principles, a client’s information should not be used or disclosed unless for a public interest or for urgent purposes. Furthermore written consent has to be taken from the client before the disclosure of any medical information. 

Another important component of nursing codes of practice involves the interpersonal relationship with the patients. The relationship should be more of trust, respect, empathy and interest and within the professional boundaries, instead of a personal relationship. This aspects regulated how a nurse should communicate with the patient.

An effective organizational setting is required for communicating with the clients across the health care settings. The organizational system should be able to develop oral communication needs, written communication practices (development of care plan), using electronic communication system in case of client who cannot access health care clinics due to mobility problem or distance, special types of communication facilities for the linguistically different groups, such as provision of the interpreters. The equality and the diversity policy can be helpful in creating and managing a culturally diverse work force. The organization should have an effective channel such that the medical information are properly channelized (Nutbeam, 2012). Trainings should be provide to the work force for effectively communicating with the clients. Effective telecommunication system and electronic documentation of the medical information facilitates proper communication across the organizational settings. The agency policies and the legislation should be made stringent that would enable the health care professionals to communicate within their scope of hospital’s governance system should be able to protect the patient’s and the employees’ interest (Nutbeam, 2012). This can be done by monitoring, spot checking and training. Recognition and appraisals of the health care workers in compliance with rules and regulations can motivate them to follow the rules. Policy on bullying and discrimination and whistle blowing policy in an organization would empower the employees who are bullied to channelize their complaint to the higher authority or would help in escalating particular and omissions and malpractices.

Communication has become a core factor in the future development of the health and the social care sectors. The health care professionals should apply proper strategies for ensuring proper communication (Watson et al. 2013). Some of the effective strategies are to involve openness in communication and making the communication process to be more interactive and interesting, to take up the communication procedures that are patient specific and understandable to the patient, taking care of the ways of communication while communicating with the elderly patients or with the person with the disabilities, identification of the barriers to effective communication or interprofessional teamwork (Nutbeam, 2012). Case scenarios and workshops and the clients and his/ her families can be used while communicating with the clients.  Other important strategies involve- creation of the right climate, acknowledging the thought and the feelings of the client, being cooperative, looking for the shared concerns, taking conflict resolution as a helical process.


Access to health records act, 1990 .Access date: 19.6.2018. Retrieved from: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1990/23/pdfs/ukpga_19900023_en.pdf

GOV.UK. (2018). Data protection. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/data-protection [Accessed 18 Jun. 2018].

HCPC 2014. Standards of Conduct, performance and ethics. Access date : 18.6.2018, Retrieved from:https://www.hcpc.uk.org/assets/documents/10004EDFStandardsofconduct,performanceandethics.pdf.

Landmark, A.M.D., Svennevig, J., Gerwing, J. and Gulbrandsen, P., 2017. Patient involvement and language barriers: Problems of agreement or understanding?. Patient education and counseling, 100(6), pp.1092-1102.

Nutbeam, D., 2012. Health literacy as a public health goal: a challenge for contemporary health education and communication strategies into the 21st century. Health promotion international, 15(3), pp.259-267.

Personal information charter. 2015.Access date : 19.6.2018. Retrieved from : /personal-information-charter“>https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england/about/personal-information-charter.

Schyve, P.M., 2007. Language differences as a barrier to quality and safety in health care: the Joint Commission perspective. Journal of general internal medicine, 22(2), pp.360-361.

Singleton, K. and Krause, E., 2009. Understanding cultural and linguistic barriers to health literacy. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 14(3).

Taylor, S.P., Nicolle, C. and Maguire, M., 2013. Cross-cultural communication barriers in health care. Nursing Standard (through 2013), 27(31), p.35.

Watson, B.M., Hewett, D.G. and Gallois, C., 2012. Intergroup communication and health care. The handbook of intergroup communication, pp.293-305.