Evaluation of Social Work Communication Skills to Allow People with Aphasia to be Part of the Decision Making Process in Healthcare.
Posted by Callier Library
The purpose of this paper is to examine how social workers are trained to interact with individuals with communication barriers in healthcare. Consent to treatment and the right to decide upon a discharge destination are enshrined in law. However, barriers such as aphasia (a communication disorder commonly resulting from a stroke) can mask competency and exclude people from the decision making process. Social workers play a vital role in the healthcare system, providing advocacy, case management, counselling, addressing capacity and assessing the patient as a whole person. But they need to be taught specialized communication skills to carry out this complex role with individuals with aphasia. A literature search and survey of universities revealed that the majority of training in supported communication is taking place in the field and driven by aphasia centres. But does the training meet the needs of social workers and their patients with aphasia, especially when someone needs a healing conversation? Results from two pilot projects show that teaching a set of skills is not sufficient; adaptation of present communication techniques is also needed to ensure that the human worth and dignity of those with communication barriers is maintained and human rights in healthcare are being met.