- Identify: To identify and find out if a service user has any communication or information needs concerning a disability, sensory loss, or any other impairment that will impact communication.
- Record: Record those needs in a clear, unambiguous and standardized way, either electronically or paper-based.
- Flag: Ensure that the recorded needs are apparent and accessible to the individual requirement, the information being paper or electronic record.
- Share: When handling information regarding a service user communicational needs, consent much be obtained to share such information.
- Meet: To ensure that all service users can be contacted in an accessible measure such as email, text or phone call. To ensure that services users receive information and correspondence in formats that they can read and understand, for example, audit, easy read or large print.
Step 1 – Identify
At the earliest opportunity, when an enquiry for a care service is raised, members of the office team must establish if there are any communication needs or wishes.
Before commencing a care package, an assessment will be completed to identify any communication needs or wishes of the service user. Information gathering will include identifying how service users manage their communication and any areas that we can support to enable effective communication.
As part of our care plan cycle, assessments will be reviewed according to an agreed timescale or if a service user condition changes. If so, a member of the assessor’s team will visit the service users to identify any new communications needs whilst being a supportive aid. Furthermore, a range of resources such as posters and leaflets can be provided to service users or accessed through the NHS England website that can help raise awareness of how Willow Homecare & Support Services Limited will accommodate different types of communication suit an individual’s needs or requirements.
Step 2 – Record
When recording information regarding service users’ communication needs, this is recorded electronically and in a paper format to ensure accessibility. When electronic systems are being used, coding will follow GDPR guidelines whilst ensuring that the service users receiving such information can be accessed.
Step 3 – Flag
Willow Homecare & Support Services Limited has a system to ensure that electronic or paper-based records are transparent in identifying whether service users have a communication requirement. This is stored both electronically and paper-based.
Step 4 – Share
Consent will be gained from the service users who have been identified as having specific communication preferences or needs in relation to information sharing. Any limitations to information sharing will also be documented, providing that information can be easily shared, with whom, in what circumstances, and for what purposes. Where consent cannot be obtained due to reduced capacity, Willow Homecare will refer to the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 and the Policy and Procedures of Willow Homecare & Support Services Limited, as well as an electronic system such as referral, transfer of care or handover processed which highlighted communication support.
Step 5 – Act
Willow Homecare & Support Services Limited are aware of how to adapt their communication styles to meet the needs of each and every service user, whilst being competent with the use of different techniques or aids used by the service user themselves, for example, hearing aids or coloured cover sheets. It must be highlighted that it may take time to establish communication needs for service users who have chosen not to disclose such information, but all will be encouraged to discuss their requirements with themselves.
Service users who have any communicational need will have accessibility to support from both Willow Homecare and external organizations. Employees will ensure that service users have access to such support and will be forthcoming in obtaining advice and support offered by any interpretations. Where employees are required to support service users to source an interpreter or communication professional, this must be based on the following consideration:
- DBS Clearance
- Professional Code of Conduct
- Preference of the Service Users (e.g. concerning gender)
- Specialist Skills needed
- Any concerns concerning the suitability or practice of the interpreter can be discussed with a member of management within Willow Homecare & Support Services Limited.