Effective communication with service users

Author(s): Ghazala Mir;  

Briefing series: Better Health Briefing Paper 2

Publisher: Race Equality Foundation

Publication date: March 2007

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Effective communication with service users
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Communication between service providers and people from minority ethnic communities has been highlighted as significant in many studies on inequalities in health and social care, with poor levels of communication limiting access to services and on relationships between service users and professionals.

This paper argues that communication can be improved in many ways: by providing information about services in a range of languages and formats; by employing staff from minority ethnic communities at all organisational levels to improve cultural competence and by improving communication at the individual, family and institutional level.

Key messages:

  • Use a range of languages and formats to inform about services
  • Cultural competency
  • Involving families in the communication process
  • Effective communication requires action

Sections:

  • Information about services should be available in a range of languages and formats
  • Employing staff from minority ethnic communities at all levels of an organisation increases cultural competence within it
  • Families may need to be involved in the communication process
  • Effective communication requires action at the institutional as well as individual level