How the communication needs of service users may be assisted

People can have problems with communicating with people for a range of reasons, there are many services that can be provided to help assist this person in communication and overcome the barriers. For a start there are lots of support services available and which one is most appropriate will depend on the problem; Advocate Advocates are people who are hired to assist people with maybe learning difficulties or illness such as dementia, get their thoughts and ideas communicated. The advocate could be a simple volunteer in a care setting such as a residential home or a lawyer in a court of law room.

This support makes sure that someone’s best interest is always being communicated, yet the advocate has to be careful that it is always on their clients thoughts being communicated and they do not additionally add what they think is right or wrong in a situation. A classic example of this in a Health and Social Care setting is in social work, when a cafcass representative supports only vulnerable children in child court cases. Interpreters and Translators A translator’s job is to understand what someone wants to communicate in one language and communicate it to someone else in another language.

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However they are not just a communicator they become a third party in the communication cycle as they have to communicate with both of the other people to make sure they understand the message. Translators don’t just translate spoken languages they also can translate from spoken to English to say Sign language. When one language is changed to another the case is often that the translator cannot just translate word for word as different languages use different sentence structures so the translator also has to consider this when communicating the message.

The services of translators is mostly needed in places where English is not the first spoken language. A translator would especially be important to have if an English speaker was on holiday in another country where English was not the first language and say if they had to go to hospital due to an injury whilst abroad they would need a translator to understand the message they want to get to the hospital staff then the translator would be able to communicate it and treatment would be available. However there are some problems that occur when someone has he support of a translator or interpreter;

Knowledge of the subject matter The more the interpreter knows about the subject that the client is trying to get across the more understanding they will be and the communication will be easier to translate as they know exactly what they are talking about. If someone does not have good knowledge about the information it may take longer for them to translate it to someone else as they will first have to communicate with the person trying to get the message across so they totally understand what it is they have to translate.

Trust There are many reasons why someone may not trust their interpreter. A few examples are at a GUM clinic appointment for a woman she may not trust a male interpreter to translate her personal issues or in a court of law if there is a case about a male that feels he has had racist abuse off of a white person he may not trust to have a white translator. The trust is not there because the person feels that the translator could so easily abuse her communication or have no sympathy for personal issues.

Social and cultural values The characteristics of an interpreter chosen to support someone are always taken into concern as to whether they will be right to match the clients self esteem needs. For example a client may choose not to have a translator who signs English to them if they have not experienced deafness themselves before as they may think that it will limit their understanding. Some people may also believe it is wrong to talk about sexual issues to the opposite sex, this is especially known in the Muslim religion, a woman’s interpreter would have to be of the same sex.

Confidentiality Knowing that your interpreter is going to maintain confidentiality with the issues you are communicating through them is a lot more secure if you have a professional translator. They guarantee to keep to confidentiality and if they didn’t they would actually be breaking the law as it is a right from the 1998 Data Protection Act. However if it is a friend or family member they do not have to guarantee confidentiality so when considering a translator that is not professional you want to take highly into account who can be trusted the most and just be slightly wary of the amount of personal information you give them.

Non-judgemental support Professional translators have been trained as part of their qualification to be able to deal with interpreting and communicating without adding any of their bias thought into the communication. This would be wrong as they would no longer be communicating exactly what the client is communicating. Speech therapists These people use different methods to conquer people’s learning disabilities. Clients can develop problems from things ranging from physical or learning difficulties or problems due to illness from diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

Therapy is used over time to improve people’s communication abilities. Counsellors People can get referred to different counsellors who usually are trained to deal with specific problems. Some of these specialized areas are drug abuse, self harm, alcohol abuse. Counselling works by combining great communication skills and great understanding of psychological theories, used together they can help and understand a person’s issues moving onto helping build back up their life and taking away any issues that are affecting them.

Not only do associations such as the NHS provide counselling sessions to service users that need it but there are also voluntary counselling agencies such that deal with certain areas such as MIND helps with giving counselling about mental health issues. Mentors These are people who have a large amount of experience and specialized ability in a certain area. They will be someone’s mentor by in a way teaching them everything they know and are generally known as being higher up and respected more as they have the highest amount of knowledge about things in a certain area that need to be communicated.

Befrienders These are people who are just open to support and help people yet they do not have any specialized psychological knowledge. Rather than be in the form of a professional they come across as simply a friend who wants to talk and understand the client’s views and feelings. Psychologists These are also professionals that generally specialize in certain areas such as occupational and educational therapy. Psychologists who specialize in the occupational area are taught how to especially deal with people’s issues concerning their behaviour in the work place.

Overall though psychologists only work in the mental health area of therapy. Illness’s such as anxiety and depression can reduce the amount of communication someone takes part in and the quality of the communication. These problems can all be addressed by a psychologist and appropriate treatment decided. Preferred Language It is assumed that for most people in Britain the preferred language of communication is English yet the second most common is actually Polish. The first language for registered blind people is Braille and for the deaf it is a signed language. British Sign Language

This language was discovered and developed by deaf people. The language involves communicating by movement of the hands, body, face and head. Even though it is not yet a legally protected language it has helped around 70 000 deaf people have the ability to communicate. Makaton This type of language uses signs, symbols and speech to communicate. This language was designed for people who cannot understand speech to adapt to. Makaton uses symbols to support to support written language and signing to support speech. This language has been adapted to in around 40 different countries and by both adults and children.

Not only does it help the less able person communicate but also if their friends, family and other members o their community learn to use it they will be able to communicate with the less able person therefore communication will be able to take place. Braille This is the language that blind people use to read. They are taught how to read what raised dots arranged in certain structures on paper or plastic mean. This language was discovered in 1821. Non- Verbal Non verbal communication can assist people’s communication needs in a more subtle way.

When someone is give eye contact it is communicated that someone is taking an interest in wanting to message something to them, from here when wanted communication can be identified the communicators can work together to form an understanding. Having an open body posture, not crossing arms and legs or having body at an angle away from someone can message to someone that the person is open and interested in communication. Facial expression can vary from smiling to gritting teeth, all in itself sending out a signal as to whether communication is wanted or not.

Another way to communicate with people who have troubles communicating for what ever reason is bodily contact, it can show where someone wants someone else to go or show what the state of the communication is, for example touching on the shoulder signals reassurance. For people who have confidence problems when talking to someone it can reassure them and carry on the communication if the other person nods there head whilst listening to the unconfident person, it shows they understand and have interest in the message being communicated.

Not only can people be supported by the non verbal communication someone gives them but also the non verbal communication they give out can help their communication problems. For example in a social care setting if in a case where the child is being taken away from parents even though the parents will be angry they should not show this through their body language by doing such things as clenching their fists as this gives the impression that they are a violent person and will definitely not help in keeping their child. Empowerment

Empowerment involves you having power of the decisions in your life and no on else being able to lower your self esteem. If a service user feels the care worker is better than them or they feel belittled by them they do not have empowerment, instead they are dependant on this care worker which is not the way it should be. This issue particularly applies to people with mental health problems, some people have such bad problems care workers believe they are not sane enough to make important, sensible decisions for themselves so decide in the service users best interest to make the decisions for them.

However it is becoming more appropriate for these people to still make decisions for themselves as it is their right to decide what treatment they would like etc. This theory does not just apply to those with mental health problems but also people with learning and physical disabilities. Here is a basic summary of what empowerment is; – Being able to make your own life important decisions ranging from what you would like for tea to whether you choose to have the operation to remove a cancerous lump. – Being able to make choices about a situation or decision, not a simple agree or disagree attitude.

Obtaining the ability to change others perceptions by being able to argue politically about your own views. – Keeping your own self esteem high because no one has the power to belittle you and therefore overcoming maybe a stereotype people have had of you. – Having access to the resources and information available to help make knowledge informed decisions. Promotion of rights Every one by law has their own rights (Human Rights Act 1998), no matter how ill or disabled someone is they will always be entitled to these rights. Also there are rights that that both service users and care workers have together and against each other.

Maintaining confidentiality There are legal requirements for care workers to keep service users issues private but this is not the only reason why care workers are trained to stick to this skill. If a service users private information is shared with other people that they would not personally like to know their business they will feel let down by the are worler resulting in them in the future not confiding in the care worker, their self esteem will lower as they will feel they have no control over their private life, this resulting in them also having to deal with how people react to the person knowledge people know about the service user.

Another more serious reason why it is important for service users private issues to be kept confidential is that if information such as where someone lives and how they are disadvantaged others may see the service user as vulnerable and take advantage of this, maybe by breaking the law by breaking into their house or even more serious offences such as kidnapping which would be highly traumatic to the service user, a situation whi8ch was only brought about by private information being wrongly exposed.