Communication – Visit from Sue Wood

Oral communication is important, as many service users who visit Age Concern need to go there to socialise so if they were not using oral communication it would make it harder for this to happen. The service users talk to each other and to the care workers to find out about upcoming events and may even want to ask simple things like what they are having for lunch. Some of the care workers at Age Concern may have to raise their voice when speaking to a service user as many of them may have hearing problems. A lot of service users use hearing aids so the age concern centre provides hearing loops to help amplify noises.

This helps the care worker and service user to have a more normal conversation without having to shout and repeat things. It can be hard to communicate orally to service users at age concern sometimes, as they have short-term memory. In this case a care worker will usually back up what they are saying by writing a letter and handing it to them so they can refer to it more than once. The care workers at age concern may also give out a letter to the person with short memory family so they are aware of what’s going on and they can also remind the service user.

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Written communication helps to give out important messages to the service users and care workers at age concern. At age concern they have a notice board so that the service users can check to see what events are happening. Some service users may forget to look at the notice board so they may also receive written letters from the care workers, which give them the same information. This can be handy even if they have checked the notice board because older people tend to be forgetful. Even the care workers can be forgetful and may have to write themselves memos or notes so they can remember to give certain information to the service users.

Computerised communication helps the service users to understand information given to them better as letters can be produced with large and bold fonts for those patients who have reading difficulties and eye sight difficulties. Care workers use the Internet for research and sometimes suppliers for new buses. Care workers at age concern sometimes produce large notices using A3 size paper this can make information clearer to understand. Service users receive newsletters from age concern to tell them about recent news and other things they would enjoy.

Using the computer makes this job easier as it would take much longer to hand write and probably wouldn’t exist in these circumstances! However computerised communication can cause a lot of confusion, as they tend to crash and work can be lost. Passwords can be forgot and not all people know how to use computers properly so they can be slow. This means that communication can be slow if someone is awaiting an email. Computers are also expensive so not all care centres can afford enough and need donations.

At the age concern centre the records and information about service users are kept manually this is in case the computer crashes and the information is lost. Sue from age concern also keeps information about what medication they are on and their address so in case an ambulance has to be called she can give the information to the paramedic. This makes life easier because the service user might not be able to speak and communicate to the paramedic. At age concern there are no service users that have any special needs. The only service users that need extra help is service users with hearing difficulties.

At age concern they may use hand gestures to back up what they are saying to make the communication easier to understand. There is no staff trained at age concern to help special needs but age concern would accommodate for guide dogs if needed. Computer aided speech machines are good for people that have speech difficulties. It helps other patients or health professionals gain important information. Which could be about their medication/ illness. Patients spending a lot of time in hospital may use computerised information for social purposes.

Patients may not get to contact their family members or friends regularly so by using the Internet they can use instant messaging or chat rooms. The use of web cam can be used alongside these ways of computerised communication too. The effectiveness of interactions can be increased by making sure all patients personel files recorded on a computers database is kept private within the data protection act. All health care settings have to make sure they do not break this law as it will be the same consequence as not keeping something confidential in any other type of communication.