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Preferred Method of Communication

NDIS Practice Standard 1: Rights and Responsibilities #

1.0 Purpose #

All participants have the right to access supports that promote, uphold and respect their legal and human rights and enable them to exercise choice and control. There is a variation in the modes of communication that each participant will require due to individual needs. This policy is designed to ensure that our employees understand each participant’s preferred method of communication. This preferred method of communication will then be embedded in the supports and services provided to the participant.

2.0 Scope #

Staff at initial contact and those who work with our participants must understand the participant’s preferred method of communication and put that preference in practice wherever possible. The CEO will inform the staff of each participant’s communication requirements and will always endeavour to place staff that can communicate effectively with a participant.

2.0 Definitions #

3.0 Policy #

The best means of communicating with a participant is determined at the initial contact and recorded and used from that point forward. Staff are required to treat all participants with respect and use their preferred mode of communication wherever possible. Variations in the mode of communication may include:

  • Written documents with no adjustments
  • Verbal explanations
  • Demonstration
  • Easy Read documents – explanations and forms
  • Interpreters (oral)
  • Translators (written).

Participants may use their interpreters and access their advocate to assist them.

4.0 Procedure #

At the initial contact meeting, staff will consult with the participant and their family or advocate to determine the most preferred mode of communication.

4.1 Initial Meeting #

The manager will undertake the following steps:

  1. Determine the best means of communication via discussion or assessment.
  2. Record this mode of communication in the support plan.
  3. Inform all staff who work with the participant.
  4. Match staff with these skills, or train and support staff in how to communicate.
  5. Prepare the relevant form of information for provision to participant
  6. Arrange for an interpreter or translator (if required).

4.2 Provision of Information #

Staff are to use the information gained in the initial meeting to provide information to the participant in their mode of communication, where information must be discussed with the participant. Methods that will be used may include:

  • Providing information in written Form without any adjustments
  • Providing information in written Form using Easy Read Documents
  • Explaining the information orally for those with issues with reading or comprehending written documents
  • Demonstrating information (if able to do so)
  • Accessing an interpreter via Translating and Interpreting Services, Department of Home Affairs.

4.3 Communicate effectively #

Staff are required to review information to determine how best to communicate with the participant. All communications must be:

  • Clear, inclusive and respectful
  • Adapted to suit the participant’s age, culture and cognitive ability.

Staff must monitor their verbal and non-verbal communication style as it will be different to the participant and find ways to communicate effectively. The participant and staff member must be persistent and patient to work out the best communication means.

Communication techniques that should be used include:

  • Using plain English
  • Speaking clearly
  • Checking for understanding
  • Using body language
  • Keyword signing

To enhance independence, staff may need to use tools and adaptive techniques such as:

  • Alphabet and/or word boards
  • Communication charts or cards

4.4 Documentation #

Record the following in the participant’s file and support plan:

  • Best means of communication
  • Type of information method used to inform the participant
  • Verbal explanation – by whom, when, and how
  • List of information supplied
  • How the participant agrees that they had been informed (verbal, signature, guardian or advocate)

iSeekSupport Policy and Procedure – Published 09.02.2022 #

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