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Communication in Patient Care Facilities

Communication in Patient Care Facilities

Hospitals and social patient care facilities apply concepts of communication in their day-
to-day running (Schwartz, Lowe, & Sinclair, 2010, p. 1). Without communication, it would be
impossible for institutions to deliver their services or even run. Efficient art of communication is
indispensable for organizational success. There are various approaches that could vary the
efficiency of communication from one organization to the other. These include communication
skills, systems, infrastructure, channels, regulations, and policies among others. In patient care
facilities, communication particularly occurs between institutions and their clients, health
professionals and patients, organizations and their staff, as well as facilities and the external
environment. Inefficiency at any point during communication processes could impair running of
patient care organizations. Usually, following the complexity of communication processes in
institutions, challenges may present when purposing to achieve effectiveness of information
delivery and use (Bramhall, 2014, p. 54). Under such circumstances, it would be necessary for
institutions to find means of enhancing their communication. The approach entails focusing on
various aspects constituting the process of communication. These include the previously
mentioned factors such as communication skills among health care practitioners, organizational
systems and so on. This essay considers the case of Gracefield Hospital and its attempts to
improve its communication processes. The institution is located in one of the busiest parts of


London City. It serves people of varied social backgrounds and medical needs. The hospital is
about to be upgraded to a foundation, and one of the crucial factors that would see to its
successful acquisition of the status is efficiency of communication in the institution.

Use of Communication in Patient Care Facilities

1.1 Theories of Communication in Patient Care Facilities
Reputable patient care facilities have described communication as a central pillar that
impacts on patient safety, quality of care, and patient satisfaction (Cleveland Clinic, 2013). As
such, institutions should always purpose to have effective communication processes. However,
ensuring that communication is effective is challenging for institutions. It is for this reason that
facilities require pre-established models and theories for the ease of pursuing excellence in
communication. Theories addressing communication matters in patient care facilities include the
Theory of Planned Behavior and Health Belief Model. The Theory of Planned Behavior is an
advancement of the Theory of Reasoned Action in that it adds up the concept of perceived
behavioral control to its predecessor theory. The model hypothesizes that approaches that seek to
cause behavioral change should target patient beliefs as they are the basis of attitudes (Niaura,
2013, p. 74). According to the model, behavior results from attitudes. The model further explains
that behavior results from the intention of individuals either to perform or not to perform specific
actions. In addition to attitude and perceived behavioral control, the theory also incorporates the
concept of subjective norm. In patient care, health practitioners apply the Theory of Planned
Behavior mostly when giving recommendations to their clients. The model enables practitioners
to predict whether patients would adopt certain recommendations or not. Practitioners predict


behavior by considering factors such as whether patients express positive attitudes or not. They
also determine whether the subjective norm is supportive or not, and also, they evaluate the
strengths of various behavioral intentions as expressed by patients. At Gracefield Hospital,
clinicians apply the Theory of Planned Behavior when coming up with recommendations for
their clients. By so doing, the professionals are able to offer the most applicable treatment and
disease management approaches available.
On the other hand, Health Belief Model suggests that it is possible to predict patients’
behavior by evaluating the extent to which they consider themselves vulnerable (Jones, Smith,
Llewellyn, 2013, p. 253). According to the model, people evaluate their vulnerability on the
basis of their susceptibility to conditions as well as the severity of the consequences associated
with such conditions. Usually, patient vulnerability and severity of the risks they face
communicate whether patients would apply recommendations or not. By understanding such
messages, practitioners would then offer effective advice to their clients (Bramhall, 2014, p. 53).
At Gracefield Hospital, for instance, practitioners use Health Belief Model to offer health
promotion advice to patients on the basis of their specific medical conditions. By so doing,
clinicians at Gracefield Hospital utilize patient messages to enhance the effectiveness of their
1.2 Communication Skills in Patient Care
Communication involves much more than just the words people say (Royal College of
Nursing, 2015). For instance, the tone and voice used in communicating would send certain
messages to the recipients of information. Likewise, the attention that receivers of information
offer sends a message to the persons delivering information. In other words, communication is


not just about words, but also skills applied in the process (Ha & Longnecker, 2010, p. 38).
Usually, communications skills could be verbal or non-verbal. The verbal aspects include the
tone of communication, choice of words, and voice properties such as whether commanding,
requesting, or begging. Other verbal skills include the speed of speech, fluency of
communication, and articulation of ideas.
On the other side, non-verbal determinants are mainly body language, and they express
one’s interest in communication (Royal College of Nursing, 2015). They include body posture,
facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, and touch. For instance, a smiley face of a clinician
would encourage patients to approach and communicate with their health care attendants than
would do a frowning face. Again, a bored look such as when one is yawning would send the
implication that clinicians are not interested in attending patients. In addition, practices such as
failing to maintain eye contact create an impression of lack of confidence in one-self. Patients
may not be interested to communicate their problems to care providers who fail to maintain eye
contact. On the other hand, it is important that clinicians avoid staring at their patients when
attempting to maintain eye contact. In addition, practitioners should understand that patients of
different cultures may get different messages from maintenance of eye contact. For example,
some cultures may regard it as a warm encounter while others could perceive it as being rude. In
the same manner, different patients may have varied interpretations of practices such as making
light touches and physical contacts depending on their cultural background.
In my earlier experiences at Gracefield Hospital, I made a few communication mistakes
but for now I have corrected them. I recall that I used to tower over patients when
communicating to them if they were lying on bed. I later learnt that the approach was not sending
the right message to patients. Upon reflection, I realized that patient felt psychologically


distanced from me. As for now, I set my stature to a reasonable level when attending patients so
that they can feel that I am attached to them.
1.3 Handling Inappropriate Inter-Personal Communication in Patient Care Settings
Effective interpersonal communication is vital in patient care institutions (Ha &
Longnecker, 2010, p. 38). As noted earlier, communication in these settings involve multiple
parties including patients, clinicians, facility administrators, external parties such drug and
equipment suppliers among others. For instance, nurses would require interacting with
physicians, pharmacists, therapists, psychologists, dieticians and other relevant clinical personnel
for them to understand the specific needs of patients. As such, it would be vital to have a system
that promotes such interactions. Patient-centered communication is particularly critical and when
it is inappropriate, it would directly impair the process of meeting primary goals of patient care
institutions. When communication between patients and health care professionals is effective,
patients achieve satisfaction, they tend to comply with treatment approaches, and eventually,
they realize their desired outcomes (Negri, Brown, Hernandez, Rosenbaum, & Roter, 2010, p. 7).
At times, interpersonal communication is impaired by certain factors within patient care setups.
Such factors include language barrier, cultural differences, specific needs, and education
disparities. Determinants also include ones associated with organizations, practitioners, and
patients. So as to handle inappropriate interpersonal interactions, organizations should address
the specific challenges impairing communication. For instance, relevant stakeholders would
equip their facilities with modern communication devices to facilitate communication among
healthcare professionals. Such infrastructure should also facilitate access of patient information
so that practitioners can interact effectively with their clients. On the same basis, institutions
should facilitate their interactions with patients by employing technological communication


systems in patient follow-ups. For instance, institutions could have working call, messaging, and
mailing services to encourage patients to keep in touch with their health care providers. Another
effective approach applicable to handling inappropriate inter-personal communication include
encouraging health care providers to employ effective communication skills. The strategy would
include enhancing the skills of practitioners through training, capacity building, and internal
campaigns. Adoption of communication policies would also effectively manage inappropriate
interpersonal communication. At Gracefield Hospital for instance, communication policies
define methods through which health care practitioners are expected to interact with their clients.
These policies guide professionals in extending standardized and high-quality care to patients
that is devoid of communication insufficiencies.
1.4 Caring for Patients with Specific Communication Needs
In health care, patients may present varied communication needs (Kourkouta &
Papathanasiou, 2014, p. 65). In most cases, people with physical, mental, and sociocultural
disabilities would necessitate specified strategies to address their specific needs. The deaf and the
blind are particularly special groups whose communication needs would require extra skills and
modification of systems to settle. For example, so as to cater for the needs of the deaf, patient
care facilities should consider employing sign language specialists. Such a move would facilitate
communication and overcome challenges such as having to waste too much time seeking
external help. So as to facilitate interactions with crippled persons who may need to
communicate regularly with health care personnel, organization should adopt practices such as
encouraging the use technological communication strategies such as video calls to overcome the
inconveniences associated with travelling to hospitals. On the other hand, institutions should hire
professionals who can use brails to cater for blind people. Other approaches include addressing


the communication needs of illiterate patients. For such patients, health care practitioners should
consider beefing up written messages with images. Additionally, practitioners should consider
giving practical illustrations instead of just directing patients verbally or through written
instructions. Another special group that patient care facilities should attend with extra attention
constitutes people who are affected by language barrier. Language disparities are likely to impair
communication in patient care as professionals may not get the messages of their clients.
Likewise, patients may fail to understand their health care providers if they do not understand
their language. So as to address the needs of the group, institutions should employ professional
translators. Alternatively, institutions should consult families of their patients to connect with
their clients. However, the approach may be associated with too many inconveniences and it may
be unreliable. For organizations that deal with people of different geographical regions, hiring
professional translators would offer one of the most effective approaches to handling challenges
of language barriers. For instance, Gracefield Hospital has established the sources of its
customers, and it has employed professional translators for languages such as Russian, Spanish,
German, and Indian. The personnel work with the communication and customer support
department. The personnel facilitate attendance of patients by giving accurate and timely
translations to health care professionals.
Influence of Different Factors on Communication Processes in Patient Care Facilities
2.1 Values and Culture
Values and culture are important determinants of communication strategies during patient
care. Though the culture of health care professionals also count in influencing communication,
the culture of patients poses most of the observed challenges. Clinicians and social health care


professionals should understand the cultural values adopted by their clients so as to avoid
possible inefficiencies in communication. Usually, culture instills in people certain values and
beliefs that could either promote or hinder communication (Kalliny, Ghanem, & Kalliny, 2014,
p. 145). For instance, people of different cultures may hold varied perceptions on communication
strategies such as disclosure of personal information. For instance, people could hold beliefs
such as those restricting them from counting their parities. Some cultures would consider such
practices as a taboo, and therefore, patients with such backgrounds would hesitate to disclose the
information to health care professionals. Another excellent illustration of the influence of culture
and values on communication during patient care is the instance of cultures discouraging men
from disclosing their problems to women. For such cultures, male patients may offer limited
information to female healthcare professionals.
Usually, clinical and social care professionals are expected to offer culturally-sensitive
services. As such, it would be out of order for them to deny patients preferences motivated by
culture. Rather than challenging cultural beliefs and values held by their patients, health care
providers should seek alternative means of attending patients. It is also advisable to note that
though some cultural values could be disgusting and unreasonable from the perspectives of
health care professionals, practitioners should not express their frustration to patients. Instead,
they should handle such situations in a friendly manner.
Gracefield Hospital is a culturally-sensitive institution. It encourages practitioners to
adhere to cultural ethics described in their respective codes of practice. The institution also
enlightens its customers by addressing mythical beliefs about communication that could be
generated in the society and cultural setups. The institution exposes unfounded beliefs to
encourage patients to communicate more effectively with their clinicians. However, Gracefield


Hospital does not deny patients the right of holding cultural and personal beliefs by any means.
Personally, as an advocate of effective communication at Gracefield Hospital, I would give
scientific evidence to patients for them to reconsider beliefs that impair care delivery.
2.2 Impact of Legislation, Charters, and Codes on Communication in Patient Care Setups
Communication is a critical aspect in patient care. It entails requesting information,
handling it, reacting to it, sharing it, and managing it. If not properly conducted, communication
may impair service delivery, patient satisfaction, as well as patient safety. For such reasons,
stakeholders have developed regulations and guidelines directing various practices involved in
communication. The regulations range from legislative laws, charters, policies, codes of practice,
as wells ethical guidelines. The application of these regulations discourages malpractices that
could result with inappropriate means of carrying out various processes of communication. Some
of the communication approaches considered worldwide is patient information on drugs. Laws
and regulations protect patients from misguidance that could be motivated by financial interests
of clinicians and social health care professionals. While the law encourages health care
professionals to keep their clients updated on available therapeutic strategies, it discourages them
from having vested personal or business interests when recommending management practices.
Regulations also define interactions that hospitals should have with pharmaceutical companies
(Francer, Izquierdo, Music, Narsai, Nikidis, Simmonds, & Woods, 2014). Such laws define
concepts such as product promotion, non-promotion, and scientific knowledge and describe how
such factors should be handled in communication between pharmaceutical companies and
healthcare professionals or the community. Other regulatory communication laws include the
ones that define knowledge delivery to patients and subsequent requests for treatment consent.
Usually, ethical guidelines of patient care practice involve autonomy, beneficence and non-


maleficence, as well as justice (Selinger, 2009, p. 50). So as to grant autonomy to patients as
directed through ethical guidelines patient care professionals require promoting patient
awareness by communicating necessary information to their clients. After doing so, then
professionals may request their clients to give them consents to take care of their needs. In the
UK, professionals who may treat their patients without consent, or those who would use wrong
information to acquire patient consent face severe legal consequences, and they are charged with
battery (Selinger, 2009, p. 51). Other crucial legal frameworks governing communication in
patient care institutions include the Disease Control Act established in 1984. The Act requires
healthcare professionals to notify the public about infectious diseases and offer mandatory
treatment for illnesses such as tuberculosis. There are also legal frameworks requiring health care
professionals to promote patient confidentiality in their practice. For instance, practitioners are
required to professionally evaluate the necessity to disclose patient information to other parties
such as the police before acting. Other frameworks that influence patient communication with
healthcare professionals include advanced care directives. Usually, practitioners are required to
refer to such directives, more so if their patients are unconscious at the time of treatment.
Gracefield Hospital has achieved its current position by avoiding communication malpractices
that by adhering to professional laws as well as the British Constitution.
2.3 Organizational Policies and Appropriate Practice of Communication
Organizations shape the communication conduct of their staff through policies and
systems. For instance, institutions could impose fines to their own staff that compromise patient
privacy by inappropriately disclosing patients’ personal information. Again, institutions could
influence various practices in communication such as the application of specific communication
skills when attending patients. For instance, institutions would require their practitioners to


always welcome their clients with a warm handshake or verbal salutation. On the other hand,
organizations could structure and implement policies that would discourage practices such as
distracting patient interviews. For example, institutions may require practitioners not to put their
personal phones in silent mode when interviewing or educating patients. By so doing,
organizations would set up a culture that impact on communication significantly. It is also
possible for organizations to influence communication conduct by focusing on personal
appearance and dressing code of practitioners. Usually, patients get certain messages by
evaluating the general appearance of their health care providers (Ha & Longnecker, 2010, p. 40).
In addition, patient care facilities would influence communication to patients and among
professionals by adopting certain channels such as ICT devices. For instance, institutions could
set up mailing, messaging, and calling facilities that would be facilitating the interaction of
patients with their clinicians. Again, the mechanisms of staff supervision that patient care
facilities adopt would impact significantly in shaping appropriate communication conduct. For
example, if institutions are keen to patient responses about the conduct of practitioners, then the
staff would most likely adopt good communication strategies to impress their clients so as to
earn a reputable image by the management.
Gracefield Hospital is keen on setting up systems that promote appropriate
communication conduct. The hospital has a working system where patients’ compliments and
complains are discussed. Staff members are encouraged to handle their clients wisely and those
who receive overwhelming complements from patients are rewarded. As such, staff members
feel obliged to offer services that meet or surpass communication standards of the facility.
2.4 Improving Communication Processes in Patient Care Facilities


Social and health care institutions can enhance their communication systems through
numerous approaches. For instance, organizations can better the efficiency, reliability, and speed
of communication by adopting technologically advanced instruments (Robertson, Creswell,
Takian, Petrakaki, Crowe, Cornford, & Sheik, 2010, p. 4564). An excellent illustration of
technological systems that patient care facilities can utilize is the electronic health records
(EHR). The systems would improve interactions between clinicians in different disciplines such
as nursing, medicine, and pharmacy. Additionally, adopting EHR systems would provide
practitioners with an opportunity to easily access patient information and make safe decisions.
The other approach that could lead to improved communication processes is staff training and
capacity building. This would entail advising practitioners on appropriate ways of handling
patient information, updating them on patient care communication policies, and advising them on
the best practices of handling controversial situations. Institutions should also focus on special
groups when purposing to improve their communication systems. For instance, they can hire
translators to facilitate communication with patients who present with language barriers. For the
blind, institutions can higher sign language specialists, and for the blind, patient care
organizations should hire professionals who can utilize brail services. Other approaches to
improving communication with patients include educating patients. Such approaches would
include addressing cultural beliefs that patients hold concerning the disclosure of their personal
information under certain circumstances. Institutions should also educate patients on beliefs
founded on myths. By so doing, there would be a reduction in situations of cultural hindrances to
Gracefield Hospital has already focused on improving its communication processes. The
organization has instituted a committee that has been mandated to investigate communication


challenges in the facility and offer recommendations for bettering the system. The process of
improving communication in the institution is currently underway and the committee includes
professionals from relevant medical fields.

Information Communication and Technology in Patient Care

3.1 Accessing and Using ICT in Patient Care
ICT tools are designed to facilitate communication in patient care and hence impact
positively on service delivery and eventual treatment outcomes. ICT-enabled records facilitate
access of information by different health professionals at different levels of treatment (NHS
Choices, 2015). For this case, EHR systems offer an excellent illustration to accessing and using
ICT in patient care. Basically, EHR systems are electronic versions of the previously used
traditional paper medical records (Advanced Data Systems Corporation, 2012). They are cloud-
based, and therefore, the entered information is secure and only accessible to certain users, who
for this case are healthcare professionals. The system is internet-based and one requires devices
such as a computer, smart phone, tablet, or laptop to access it. Usually, health care professionals
are issued with login information including a password for them to access the system through
EHR website. Once they have logged in to the system, users get access to patient information
including medical history, personal data, and financial information and so on. Health care
professionals using EHR systems also get access to crucial medical information such as
laboratory test results and findings of physical diagnoses (The British Psychological Society,
2011, p. 4). In addition to viewing information, users of EHR systems can also modify patient
information by adding data.


Gracefield Hospital has adopted EHR Systems and replaced paper-based medical records.
The systems are particularly important in that they enable physicians to make referrals with
efficiency. Again, doctors at the hospital use the system to communicate with one another and
discuss patient matters. The systems have also been of great use in expanding the knowledge of
health care professionals in the hospital. For instance, users of the system stay updated on
matters such as those concerning disease outbreaks. Professionals at Gracefield Hospital also
find the systems handy in getting scientifically-proved information concerning diseases and their
3.2 Benefits of ICT in Patient Care for Patients, Practitioners, and Organizations
There has been wide use of ICT in patient care institutions worldwide (Robertson et al.,
2010, p. 4564). ICT has remarkably influenced service delivery in patient care institutions. One
of its greatest impacts is speeding communication (The British Psychological Society, 2011, p.
5). Unlike in earlier times where there were no major technological developments, it is possible
to communicate fast with the help of ICT. For instance, patients used to deliver their records
physically to different health care providers when clarification of issues was necessary.
Nowadays, health care providers contact each other on phones, computers, and other gadgets
through calls, messages, and mails whenever needs of clarification arise. ICT has also promoted
patient safety. For instance, systems such as EHR minimize chances of error as they present
information in a standardized way. Again, patients are protected in that they cannot lose their
medical history as would have been the case had they depended on paper records solely. They
are also protected in that their medical and personal information is only accessible to authorized
persons. To patient care organizations, ICT has significantly facilitated management. Usually,
one of the greatest worries of organizations is managing and using data. When organizations use


computers and online systems to store data, it becomes easier for them to handle such data. They
can retrieve it when necessary and also make modifications as needs to do so arise. On their side,
health and social care practitioners enjoy benefits such as attending patients accurately.
Professionals are able to make accurate decisions as they have sufficient patient information at
their disposal, and they can access it timely. At Gracefield Hospital, ICT has mostly contributed
to the institutions current position. Technological tools have facilitated care delivery and the
overall efficiency of running the facility.
3.3 Impact of Legal Factors on Communication Systems in Patient Care
ICT has both benefits and shortcomings, especially depending on the means of its
application to service. For instance, while technological systems facilitate data storage and
retrieval, they could easily compromise its security. In abnormal circumstances, people entrusted
with keeping information may expose it to unauthorized parties. For such situations, the impact
of ICT would be detrimental to the privacy of the owners of information. Bearing such
considerations, governments institute legal measures concerning the use of technology. Such
legislations have significant impact on the application of ICT in patient care settings. In England,
one of the most influential policies is the Data Protection Act instituted in 1998. The Act controls
the manner in which institutions use information that they collect from people (Gov.UK, 2015).
In patient care institutions, The Data Protection Act requires that facilities only use information
from their clients for treatment purposes only. Again, the act requires that such data be applied
accurately and precisely to its stated purpose. Additionally, the Act limits the transfer of patient
data by requiring that data be accorded adequate protection if it is to be communicated beyond
the European Economic Area. The act also influences data handling by requiring patient care
institutions to apply extra caution and security on sensitive information such as sexual health,


ethnic background, and criminal records. At Gracefield Hospital, the Act encourages
practitioners to handle patient information appropriately. Actually, the Act offers patient an
opportunity to sue the organization in situations where they would feel dissatisfied with the
institutions use of information that it collects from them.



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