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Communication in the Care Home

communicationIt's not easy to be heard – far less, listened to – in a hectic working environment. Which is why it is vital to ensure that there is a good communication strategy within your Care Home.

It doesn't have to be complicated, or even regimented. It just needs to be understood by everyone working there from the top down and the bottom up. Here are some simple tips to improve the line of communication in your care home.


Regular open Meetings.

This means that all staff should feel confident in being able to speak up about issues which they feel should be shared with the rest of the team. Encourage this from the outset, so that new staff feel that they can air their views without fear of reprimand.

 

One-to-one supervision

Care homes vary in how much importance they lay on providing a safe private environment for their care staff to speak up. Team leaders should make themselves available at certain times of the day for just such occasions. It may be a half hour slot when reports are being completed, or before the beginning of a shift. What's important is that all staff know that they can approach the Charge Nurse/team leader at some point during the day if necessary.

 

Comprehensive induction

All too often, new care staff learn the basics 'on the job'. These 'basics' – ie., who's who, what's what, fire and safety, rules particular to the care home – should never be left to chance and should be the responsibility of the team leader. An induction pack, regularly updated should accompany the induction, with all necessary information on contacts, supervision, sick leave arrangements etc. Another common issue is the type of information given when induction is left to learning on the job. House rules and responsibilities should be learned from the same person each time, otherwise, ambiguity may creep in on do's and don'ts (eg., “They ask us to do this, but we can usually do it that way – no one says anything”). Sending out a clear and consistent message will help to eliminate mistakes made through misunderstandings.

 

Suggestion Box

For those less able to speak up, a suggestion box in a private area of the home is a good way of learning about issues which may otherwise be unmentioned. To avoid this becoming a redundant practice, action suggestions as soon as possible and keep staff informed of outcomes.

 

Keep out of politics!

Every working environment has its own politics, and it can be difficult to ignore when it's happening all around you. However, the simple solution to this is – DON'T!! Once involved, politics can be notoriously difficult to get out of unscathed. Be friendly, never publically criticise a team member and reserve judgement of others – the world doesn't need another barrister! Once you become known for not getting involved in petty squabbles, you are more likely to be seen as fair, just and, above all, approachable.

. Posted in Care Staff Articles