As shown in Chapters 2 and 5, we need to listen to ourselves, those in our care and those who can give us feedback about our performance, but we also need to communicate with and listen to those with whom we work in partnership. Carnwell and Buchanan (2005) make clear the point that in recognising the needs of those we care for we must also recognise the role of others in providing for people’s needs. There is a danger within service provision to see only the care that we ourselves can offer and ignore what other agencies and professionals can provide. Effective care relies on us being able to work in partnership, and being able to communicate with people from other agencies ensures that those we care for receive the best possible care.

Carnwell and Buchanan (2005) outline the dangers of professional groups working in isolation. Specialisation and professionalism have led us to a situation where subject-specific language can be difficult to understand and often contributes to a breakdown in communication between agencies and organisations. It is recognised that understanding the role of others will help in ensuring seamless working with people. Networking and joined-up thinking are now at the centre of providing effective care, and professional and volunteer groups need to find new ways of communicating and working in partnership. Jelphs (2006) outlines what she believes to be the key areas for organisations, teams and individuals to consider.

  • • How to develop and implement a meaningful communication strategy;
  • • How the strategy links to other strategic policies and procedures;
  • • How information is shared between staff;
  • • The ability of staff to access communication systems;
  • • How information is shared between patients and service users;
  • • How to develop information that is empowering and enabling for staff and service users;
  • • How to manage the grapevine;
  • • How to manage the media.

These are all big issues to consider. Sharing information requires a language that all can understand and developing that level of understanding requires everyone involved to be proactive and open to change.

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