One way of enabling and supporting an individual can beusing electronic devices to help people overcome the communication difficultiesthey face. These include things such as hearing loops of text tablets enabling thosethat can’t speak to convey their feelings using technology hearing loops.
Electronic devices can be used both to send and receive messages. It is importantto give the person using a communication device enough time to use it when youare communicating with them in order to not rush them making them comfortableand not pressurised and stressed when there using this technology some may takelonger to use this technology if this was to happen then the professional stillneeds to act engaging and comforting. Interpreters can help patients when Englishis not their preferred or first language. Some interpreters may have beenfamily members of the patient, but this are now discouraged for confidentialityreasons and if it was to be used it would be controlled. For example, a motherwhose daughter is interpreting for her may not want her daughter to know thatshe has cancer. Early year’s settings may also use interpreters, for example atparent consultation meetings, to help ensure that information regardingprogress and that any issues affecting the service user (child) is communicatedaccurately ensuring that the patient understands what is taking place in theirtreatment etc. and feels comfortable in asking questions. Interpreterscommunicate the meaning of one spoken language to another, whereas on the otherhand translators change written material from one language to another.
Thereare disadvantages to using translators and interpreters, as it may sometimes bedifficult to know the exact meaning of a message or knowing what to reply. Another method that could be used to supportan individual would be an advocate. This is a person who tries to understandthe needs and preferences of a patient and then speaks on their behalf.
Advocates are often needed when a patient has a disability which may makes itdifficult for them to speak for themselves. The advocate should try and get to knowthem and develop an understanding of their culture and background. The advocateshould understand their needs and communicate these to practitioners orprofessionals involved with them.
The advocate may be a family member, carer/guardian or a representative from a voluntary organisation. Finally whenconsidering patients’ needs and supporting these, this can be done bymaintaining eye contact with the service user and listening carefully to whatthey have to say without interrupting or rushing the conversation and givingthem time to answer questions while maintaining good eye contact and other waysto make them feel comfortable. It is important for staff to find out each serviceuser’s preferred method of communication. For example some service users mayprefer to communicate verbally on a one to one basis whereas others may feel morecomfortable in a small group situation or with family members or close friends.
In some cases the service user’s key worker or advocate may communicate ontheir behalf. Service users with a hearing or visual impairment may prefer to show pictures orwrite words and it is essential that staff check hearing aids are working.