Show how Communication Processes are Influenced by Values and Cultural factors in Health and Social Care

Introduction

Communication is a vital component in an organization; regardless of the nature of the work the organization is engaged in. Interactive communication between individuals is something that may only be obtained through spoken words or other means. In order for communication to occur, there is always a need for two people, and the ability to communicate among them is determined by the easiness that is between them, of relationship. This ability to communicate in an effective and efficient manner is especially important for people who have chosen health care as their profession, and aim to build a strong method of interaction between patients and clients, and professionals alike.

 This paper will highlight the purpose of the effective use of communication in the health care profession to thrive and how values as well as cultural factors may influence said processes. The analysis of the modes of communication and other important aspects in the context of health care and social work will be done in this report.

Communication Processes

Communication can easily be defined as the process that consists of sending or receiving messages and other modes of communication between two or more individuals. For communication to be properly effective, other modes can also be used, such as body language, gestures, facial expressions, and appearance as well as positioning. These methods are often used if there is a communication barrier between two individuals, especially those that may suffer from health care issues or may need social work. Non-verbal communication is important in this field as some patients may come across as incredibly shy and not be forthcoming with their ailments. It is next to impossible to have to endure in health and social care without the help of communication (Mullins, 2005, pp.90).

There are several reasons that a professional may need to communicate with a patient and it becomes absolutely vital that communication be done in an effective and easy manner without any occurrences of misunderstanding or hostility towards the patient. Health care professionals often communicate regularly with patients, as well as temporary or permanent residents, or clients. They may also need to inquire after other health care professionals or managers and supervisors. Of course, friends and family fall under this category as well, since at the end of the day they are the ones in need of communication the most.

Culture refers to “a collective programming of the human mind which distinguishes members of a particular group or from others" (Hofstede, 1997, pp. 2). Cultural factors are highly significant in the way patients are dealt with in health and social care. Cultural identity shapes how the individual views their disorder and its treatments. Some people may not even believe they can be cured of certain diseases or disorders because their cultural background might not acknowledge it. There are so many varied and seemingly opposing cultures around the world that it might be hard to be socially aware of the difference between each patient. However, it is important to know how cultural views and values affect social and health care in the long run.

Health and social care providers that competently provide culturally significant care are valuing diversity. They are placing respect on each individual’s differences regardless of their cultural background, beliefs or race. Culturally influenced behaviour is learned in the initial stages in a family setting and is mostly unconscious, but has a strong impact on the health practices. It is often found that subcultures and ethnic groups might differ from the dominant culture of the country or organization thus a different set of beliefs and values may be followed. This would require healthcare providers to get special training and practices into communication and ethics concerning said cultures. They are required to recognize, respect and try and integrate their various patient’s beliefs and values into planning the treatment and care they will receive.

It is considered that the biggest factor in healthcare communications that is often overlooked by professionals is in fact, background culture and values with which the patient has grown up with. Often the training and development programs that healthcare employees are made to go through are based on a standard. This means factors like culture, religion or values of the individual are ignored, and standard procedures do not give the opportunity for professionals to learn. It is a huge factor in failing healthcare and social care systems and has yet not been remedied (Burgland & Saltman, 2002, pp. 1).

There are some specialist facilities that would deal with these matters in a professional manner, but the majority of health and social care institutions need to realize that a standard methodology such as the health care dimension which includes health care subjects, health care services and their organizations, the technological dimension which includes all supporting technology to realize the health care telematics applications etc. Also, cultural diversity should also be addressed to ensure effective communication. It can be achieved by identifying the language, norms and beliefs of relevant culture and incorporating them in a healthcare setting. Though this will not reach through to people with diverse ethnic or cultural background. It also matters that these often fragile individuals are not made to go through different interactive or communicative activities with which they are not comfortable. If an individual is speaking another language or does not understand the language the majority speaks, they are likely to be intimidated already. Having to let go of inhibitions and speak freely in front of strangers who will definitely not understand their world view point will undoubtedly be hard for them. Thus, a little sensitivity is needed by these professionals.

 

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