Communication in Health Care, Essay Example

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Essay

Effective communication skills in healthcare are essential for client health outcomes, such as overall health, adherence to treatment, satisfaction with provider, and continual health status.  The ability of a health care provided to effectively communicate to their client is therefore, a top factor in the their overall performance on the job.1 There are many different barriers and situations that the provider must be aware of and must know how to deal with or handle, such as non-English speaking clients.  In fact, a study conducted in the Victorian public health system during 2008 and 20091, identified health related issues and outcomes as a result of communication problems between non-English speaking individuals and the provider. 2   In addition, communication in the health care system was ranked second as the contributing factor. 2    The current paper focuses on how to effectively communicate a plan of care to a patient, who is of a non-English speaking background.  In this particular case, the provider is relaying a plan of care to the client who has a severe case of gingivitis and bone loss at the root of a tooth.

For a non-English speaking client, the first thing is to have a translator present who speaks the same language.  It is important to overview the disease with the client.  In this case, the first course of action is to convey the type of gum disease that the client has, Gingivitis.  Gingivitis should be explained that it involves swelling of the gums.  In addition, the bone loss should be explained as periodontal disease.  Periodontis is the more advanced stage of the gum disease and involves both infection in the gums and loss of bone that supports the teeth.  In addition, the diagnosis should be explained to the client.  The provider should explain that the patient’s gums were very red and bleeding when being examined.  In addition, the provider should explain that the periodontal pockets in the teeth had a 5 millimeter or deeper loss of bone that was shown in the x-ray.  The provider should also illustrate the loss in the x-ray to the client.  Furthermore, it should be carefully explained that there is no cure for periodontal disease, but that it can be maintained and helped.  The first step is involved would be a deep cleaning of the teeth and gums.  This is referred to as scaling and root planing which goes below the gum line into the pockets to remove the bacteria that is causing the infection and bone loss. It should be further pointed out to the client that this is different than the basic cleaning and it is a slower visit, which requires working on ¼ of the mouth during each visit. 3 Therefore, the client must be prepared to come in four visits and it must be maintained every four months.  Therefore, the client must be aware that they must come four visits every four months.  In this case, it would be a good idea that the translator asks the client to reiterate the plan of action in order to establish that the client understands completely.

There is some difficulty in expressing this course of action to the client.  Having a translator does help; however, it is still difficult to completely understand and verify that the client is 100% aware of their condition and 100% aware of the plan of action to increase the health of their gums and teeth.  Given the situation and the decreased understanding due to the language barrier, it is highly recommended that providers undergo patient-provider communication training in order to understand the barriers and increase the over outcome or health of the client.  It is also important for the provider to increase their communication skills by being organized.  Organization will ensure that the patient/client safety and quality of care is met and this can also provide resources to help increase communication strategies and understand whether or not communication is being effectively exchanged between providers and clients.

Overall, communication in the medical/health field is extremely important.  It is essential that the client understands their diagnosis and plan of action in order for them to receive the best health outcome.  Of course there are barriers, such as language, which presents communication problems between the provider and client; however, if a provider acknowledges these barriers and takes the proper steps and provides a translator, the communication level increases, as well as the health outcome.

References

The Victorian Quality Council. Promoting effective communication among healthcare professionals to improve patient safety and quality of care.  This booklet is available in pdf format and may be downloaded from the VQC website at http://www.health.vic.gov.au/quality council.

Victorian Department of Health. Building Foundations to support patient safety: Annual report of the 2008-09 Sentinel event program. Victorian Department of Health, November 2009. Accessed on 6 April 2010 at http://health.vic.gov.au/clinrisk/downloads/sentinel_event_program_0809.pdf.

com. Sherwood Dental Care.  Web. Retrieved from: http://www.sherwooddental.com/patient_services/gum_disease.html.

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