The ability to communicate effectively is one of the most important characteristics of anyone in a caregiving role. At Carefour it’s one of the key things we look for when we recruit into our teams.
Whilst there are many different forms of communication, and we’ll cover our thoughts on a few of them in this post, the standout one for us is Listening. We think of it as the Superpower within communication.
History and experience have helped us see that the greatest doctors and health care professionals can prescribe and treat anyone, but what makes it work better is communicating effectively with the client.
For us it’s also about genuine, caring interaction and bonding. Our carers, whether working in-home care, or live-in care, understand the power that comes with listening when you are providing support to a client.
The power of listening doesn’t just work with clients. We know that it also provides huge benefits to relatives, teams, medical professionals, and many more.
Without listening, we can easily find ourselves in dangerous territory.
Imagine a carer that doesn’t listen to instructions? A medical professional who doesn’t listen to symptoms. A business that doesn’t listen to the needs of a client organising a care package. Imagine a client, talking and needing a listening ear and not being heard. We all know the risks of this and the potential impacts.
For us, the power of listening is invaluable and critical to how we do business at Carefour.
What about the other types of communication?
We checked in on The Royal College of Nursing website and interestingly, they’re on the same page as us. They say that they recognise that “communication is about much more than the words we say.” They talk about the tone of voice we choose to use, how we show our body language, the gestures we make and demonstrate, the level of eye contact, even simple things like the style of writing all impact the overall effectiveness of any form of communication.
We’ve picked 6 elements of communication that we believe are essential to those working in health and social care.
Listening. We’ve already made our case on this one. It’s, without doubt, the superpower skill of communication. Sadly, it’s often forgotten and many of us don’t really listen. At the end of the post, we’ll share some top tips to help you.
Non-verbal – Non-verbal communication is about the stuff you don’t say! This is around body language and the way you come across. We expect all our carers to be confident, positive and happy and be aware of how they are presenting themselves to those they interact with.
Words – Making sure that you use the right words to get your message to land and be understood is particularly important. Not using slang, or abbreviations and acronyms is a great start. We know that the jargon in our world can be confusing to clients and relatives so we always make sure to use clear, simple and easy to understand words so we can get a clear message.
Verbal – We all know this one. Most of us do it a lot! Verbal communication is the way you talk to people. If you can teach yourself to use accurate, clear, specific and ‘plain English’ language will go a long way to help people understand what you are trying to say. It’s also important to remember who the message is being delivered to, we should explain and communicate differently for different groups of people.
Written – All written communication needs to be as clear as possible. Especially when recording client data. Our teams use state of the art software to record visits and care plans, but we help them see the risks of not writing things down correctly. It also forms a part of the intensive induction process we put all our carers through when they join Carefour.
Questioning – We love a curious carer! We teach them at the Carefour Academy that the way they ask a question can impact the answer you get back. We elaborate on the benefits of open and closed questions and asking the right question, at the right time in the right way.
Carefour Top 10 Tips for Listening
- Face the speaker and make great eye contact.
- Keep an ear out for non-verbal cues.
- Don’t interrupt no matter how much you want to.
- Listen carefully without judging or jumping to conclusions.
- Don’t start planning what to say next as it distracts you from the conversation.
- Show that you’re listening by using nods and affirmations.
- Don’t impose your opinions or solutions until it’s appropriate.
- Stay focused on the conversation, content and person.
- Ask plenty of great questions once it’s ok to do so.
- Paraphrase what you heard and summarise, so you know you got it right.
At Carefour we believe that always putting listening, and of course the other elements of communication, as a top priority means that our clients get the absolute best in care. Our customers are heard, our teams are understood and feel that their opinions and thoughts matter. This is especially important when it comes to safeguarding and we work hard to create that safe environment.
We know that providing great listening skills, with a focus on overall communication makes our clients and relatives feel cared for, safe and valued and after all, isn’t that what care is all about?
If you’re reading this thinking you could join our team as a carer then get in touch and talk to us about joining the team at Carefour here.
If you’re looking for care for yourself or a loved one, then talk to us here so we can see how Carefour can help you.