P5/P6 Reflective Account
Brief Description of the one to one interaction
I had many one to one interactions throughout my placement but the most memorable was with an elderly man, Mr M, he is partially deaf and his speech is difficult to understand. I approached the service user, smiling as I walked towards him; I kindly asked would he like any refreshments. I had to consider that he was deaf, so I used hand gestures to ensure that he could understand the message fully. Once I had given the drinks Mr M requested, I was praising his artwork that he was doing, and I asked him what he was working on. Mr M presented more of his drawings; I continued commenting on his artwork and asking further questions like ‘what is your favourite piece you have drawn’. Furthermore, Mr M started to talk about his personal life such as his children, grandchildren etc.
Brief Description of the group interaction
A group interaction involved playing snakes and ladders with the service users. My peers and I set up the game and we had to move the mat to cater for them, as some of them could not throw that far. Then I clearly announced to the service users who would like to participate in the game. Some of them did not hear me, therefore when I went around to the service users individually with the dice and asked them because they would probably understand me more. I split the group into two teams, red and blue, so there can be an element of competition, so it can be more fun for the service users. In addition, if the service users got a low number on the dice, I would give them another go and still be enthusiastic towards them. Towards the end of the game, I could see by their facial expressions and body language that they were getting bored and were not interested; therefore, I asked if they would like to play another game or to turn their music on.
Assess own communication skills and evaluate factors that influenced the effectiveness of each interaction.
In this essay, I will be assessing and evaluating my communication and interpersonal skills of two interactions I took part in at my work placement. My work placement was at Highview Day Centre for the elderly where I took part in both one to one and group communication. An example of one to one communication I took part in is whereby I was talking to a service user about their drawings. In the group interaction, I was playing snakes and ladders with the service users.
Assess – M3
I believe in both one to one and group interaction, my communication skills was mostly effective. However, I feel that some areas of my interactions need to be improved in certain areas.
My supervisor rated my one to one interaction good, which shows my communication was effective but I would need to improve in certain areas in the future. I think the communication between the service user and I went well, because I did not see that he was uncomfortable or struggled to understand me, as I was trying to look out for any facial expressions or hand gestures to indicate this. For example, I was talking to Mr M, an elderly man, who is partially deaf and his speech is difficult to understand. During the interaction, I was using facial expressions and different gestures to effectively communicate with the service user, alongside me speaking to him verbally. I believe this supported the interaction, and showed that I can communicate in multiple different ways to make the service user understand, which shows I care. Additionally, I was asking him questions about his artwork like ‘what is your favourite piece you have drawn’. I feel asking Mr M questions made him feel important, and reassured him that I am interested in his hobbies. In this interaction, I used the appropriate tone of voice and pace when communicating with Mr M, because it is important for him to understand and this showed the service user that I am open to interacting with him, which also shows I care. Personally, I agree with my supervisor that I need to improve on ‘Clarifying and repeating’ to the service user, this is because a few times throughout placement, some individuals were confused and had misunderstood me. For example, when I was giving out refreshments, an elderly man was confused and misunderstood the questions about which drink he would like; I could see the service user was agitated by his facial expressions and body language. Next time, I would use alternative strategies to communicate with the service user more effectively, such as repeating the question and approaching the service user differently, by standing in front of him, instead of coming from the side.
Similarly, my supervisor rated my group interaction as good; the survey includes my ‘awareness of needs and preferences’ of the individuals at the Day centre, which I feel was an accurate rating of my performance. I had to be aware about the different conditions the service users had, because snakes and ladders require players to stand up and throw the dice, therefore due to how frail and weak they are, I offered to help them to stand. Once they have thrown the ball, I would proudly announce to the group what number they have achieved. If the service user has a disability, it is important to satisfy their needs, so they can get involved. For instance, I had to move the snakes and ladders mat to accommodate the service users because some of them cannot throw far or unable to stand, this means I moved the mat towards them to avoid any injuries. Another example is a service user was in a wheelchair; therefore, I had to change rules of the game slightly to cater for their needs and I reassured her that she can still take part and can throw the dice from her chair. I believe involving this individual into the game made her feel important and welcome, this will make the service user feel more personal, as the concentration is aimed at her to help show I care and interested in how she feel. However, I do feel I could improve on my performance because I should of more eye contact when talking to the service users. According to an article on Evenesis, it is important to give eye contact, during an interaction as you can “build trust” and therefore the service user “will be more likely to trust and respect you as eye contact indicates an openness in communication”(Evenesis,.2012). Moreover, in my placement I should have discussed with my supervisor about the service users, and which method of communication is best for them, as this would have encouraged me to have more one to one interactions.
Evaluate – D2
Personally, I feel that in my placement I learnt that every individual has different preferences and care providers have to adapt to them. For example, some service users preferred method of communication was hand gestures and facial expressions, by the care workers using the same methods it allows a clear interaction to take place. During my placement, I looked at methods on how the care workers would interact with the service users effectively. For example, communicating with the service users in an informal way, without using slang or jargon, is important, as it is a casual and easy approach to a conversation. From the knowledge I have gathered, I feel that interacting with the service users in an informal way can be effective because they feel more comfortable as they can go into detail about their hobbies etc. On the other hand, communicating in a formal way is important as care workers have to act in a suitable way, however, I would not advise to use it during an interaction between the service users. Another essential skill I learnt is the position and proximity is vital, as the service user may become distressed if the care worker went into their personal space, therefore, I have to be cautious about where I stand and communicate with them. For example, in my one to one communication with Mr M, I had to stand opposite him to make eye contact so he could understand I was talking to him and for him to lip read as well if there was any miscommunication.
From the witness testimony feedback I received from my supervisor, I feel I have developed my confidence and speech to service users. Once they started to recognise my peers and me they started to feel more comfortable with us, therefore I thought I would be the best time to start to interact with them. For example, at the end of the week, I would have many one to one and group interactions as we both felt comfortable with each other and I know which method of communication is best for them. Additionally, I believe I have improved on understanding the different needs/preferences for the service user and asking the appropriate questions. I feel during my one to one interaction with Mr M has backs up my theory, as he responded well when I was asking him questions and also he showed similar signs to when I was using different methods of communication.
However, I faced a few barriers when communicating with the service uses at the Highview Day Centre. One barrier I faced is that most of the service users at the Day Centre had a disability such as visual or hearing impairment. At the beginning, I found this barrier difficult to overcome because I was nervous and shy, as I did not know any of the service users yet. I believe looking at the care workers with the service user, enhanced my knowledge and confidence on how I would communicate with them. Additionally, outside of the work place (at home) I did research on the best strategies on how to communicate with service users, which I feel was effective as I felt more positive and had extra knowledge needed to participate in interactions with the service users. Once I started to have my one to one and group interactions, I felt more assertive and started to understand the different ways to communicate with each individual service user. From my previous learning experiences, I believe I have developed my knowledge and confidence with interacting with the elderly. For instance, I used to volunteer in a charity shop that consisted of elderly volunteers and customers; therefore, at this placement I felt more confident because I had more background knowledge. Furthermore, I had another barrier to overcome, which was the environment such as noise, this is because there was music in the background therefore it would be hard for me to communicate with the service users. To overcome this, I had to speak louder and clearer as it would be hard for the service user to understand the message. In addition, one of the service users had poor speech and it was difficult for me to understand him. Besides his disability, I still communicate with him, however, when I asked him a question I would repeat it twice and I would look for any facial expressions or body language to indicate that he has understood the message. Finally, the last barrier I faced was when some of the service users were in an emotional state, because many of them had medical conditions such as dementia, to overcome this I asked my supervisor to discuss with me strategies on the best way to communicate with the service user. Personally, I feel by asking my supervisor shows that I am interested in the service user and I am willing to learn and to ask how they would like to be treated.
Add: Maybe talk about previous learning experiences as volunteering, and there were elderly volunteer which has given me more knowledge on that.
Things need to add to D2:
Look at Kerry’s slides
Look at the factors that effected communication (noise, environment, speech etc)
Furthermore, I had another barrier to overcome, which was the environment such as noise, this is because there was music in the background therefore it would be hard for me to communicate with the service users. To overcome this, I had to speak louder and clearer as it would be hard for the service user to understand the message.