News and Notices

Overcoming communication difficulties for staff, patients and visitors during Covid-19

The wearing of face masks can act as a barrier to communication between staff, patients and visitors, however there are a few simple measures that can be used to facilitate effective communication.

  • Always ensure that you face the person
  • Moderate the tone and speed of your voice to suite the person’s needs
  • Patients may have a relative or carer with them to aid with communication where necessary as long as they have met all screening requirements
  • Ask questions and give the individual time to ask questions to ensure that you have been understood and that you have understood the individual’s needs  
  • Introduce a new topic to conversation rather than changing suddenly
  • Ensure that you use words that can be easily understood and avoid abbreviations and jargon
  • If necessary use different word or alternative ways of say something
  • DCHS have a limited supply of clear face masks which can be used where necessary and safe to do so. These can be ordered via the PPE ordering system along with guidelines for their use
  • Staff who have Android phones that they can use for work can download the Google Live Transcribe app. This can help decipher speech e.g. when wearing a face mask and can also be used to scan and explain written information such as leaflets, forms and documents
  • DCHS staff also have access to The Hospital Communication Book on My DCHS, this provides tips and advice on overcoming communication difficulties as well as resources such as words, pictures and letters to aid with communication
  • Sign language or Makaton can be used where staff are trained in their use
  • Sending out written information such as leaflets, transcripts of meetings or conversations ahead of appointment to give the person time to read and understand the information
  • Where the individual is asymptomatic for Covid-19 and 2 metre social distancing can be maintained, staff may remove their mask for conversations, whilst wearing a visor. However masks must be worn when carrying out any direct clinical care.