Successful supported self-care depends upon excellent communication at every stage. It also relies upon the ability of healthcare professionals to both gather information effectively from individuals and to deliver information back to the individual concerned. Frequently this will also involve communicating effectively with close family members and other informal carers. This requires the professionals to show considerable empathy. It also means that they must adopt an approach that is at a pace and level, and in a style, which is best for each recipient and takes account of their individual wishes and requirements.

Professionals need to consider both verbal and non-verbal means of communication, and take account of any particular needs that the individual might have. For example, a person might have particular communication needs due to language preferences or abilities, physical or cognitive disabilities, dialects, cultural differences or their emotional state.

The nature and style of questioning and body language (such as eye contact, posture and facial expressions) are important aspects of this dynamic and must be tailored to the needs of the individual concerned.

Communication skills need to be used appropriately, considerately and sensitively in order to help the professional to understand the individual’s ideas, concerns and expectations regarding their health, wellbeing and care needs. This in turn will create opportunities to identify goals and actions for supported self-care, and to build the necessary motivation and confidence to carry out the necessary changes.

Further information
Care Certificate Standard 6: Communication
Self Care Training Manual Module 6: self care
- effective communication