How to use LEAPS in Health and Social Care to Resolve Conflict

How to use LEAPS in Health and Social Care to Resolve Conflict

Conflict Management

Care Learning

3 mins READ

LEAPS, an acronym for Listen, Empathise, Ask questions, Paraphrase, and Summarise.

LEAPS is a valuable conflict resolution technique widely applicable in health and social care settings.

Using LEAPS to manage conflict

Here’s how LEAPS can be effectively used to manage and resolve conflict in these contexts:


Active Listening:

  • Definition: Active listening involves fully concentrating on, understanding, and responding to the speaker.
  • Application: In conflict situations, this means setting aside personal biases, avoiding interruptions, and giving full attention to the parties involved. Healthcare professionals can show they are listening by nodding, making eye contact, and using verbal acknowledgements like “I see” or “I understand.”
  • Impact: Active listening helps de-escalate tension as individuals feel heard and valued. It lays the groundwork for open and constructive dialogue.


Expressing Empathy:

  • Definition: Empathy involves recognising and validating the emotions and experiences of others.
  • Application: When conflicts arise, acknowledging the emotions of patients, family members, or colleagues can be powerful. Statements like, “I understand that this situation is very frustrating for you,” can help.
  • Impact: Empathy puts individuals at ease and shows genuine concern. In health and social care, where emotions often run high because of stress, illness, or loss, empathy is critical in building trust and rapport.

Ask Questions

Curious and Clarifying Questions:

  • Definition: Asking open-ended, clarifying questions helps gather more information and demonstrate an interest in the other person’s perspective.
  • Application: Questions like “Can you tell me more about what happened?” or “How did that make you feel?” invite detailed responses and uncover underlying issues.
  • Impact: This approach ensures all viewpoints are considered and helps in identifying the root cause of the conflict. It also prevents assumptions and promotes a thorough understanding of the situation.


Reflecting Back:

  • Definition: Paraphrasing means summarising what the speaker has said in your own words to show understanding and ensure accuracy.
  • Application: Statements like, “So, what I hear you saying is that you’re upset because you felt ignored during the meeting,” can be used.
  • Impact: This technique validates the speaker while preventing misunderstandings. It also shows that the listener is engaged and sincerely attempting to understand the speaker’s concerns.


Bringing it Together:

  • Definition: Summarising involves reviewing and synthesising the main points of the conversation to ensure mutual understanding and agreement on what has been discussed.
  • Application: At the end of the discussion, a summary might include, “To summarise, the main issues we’ve identified are X and Y, and our next steps will be A and B.”
  • Impact: This helps clarify any remaining points of contention and sets the stage for action. It ensures that all parties are on the same page and understand the agreed-upon resolutions or next steps.

Integrating LEAPS in Health and Social Care

In health and social care environments, effective communication is essential to provide quality care and maintain a harmonious workplace.

Here’s how LEAPS can be woven into everyday practice:

  • Patient Care: When addressing patient complaints or misunderstandings, using LEAPS helps in understanding their anxieties and finding agreeable solutions.
  • Team Dynamics: Among healthcare teams, conflicts can arise because of high stress, differing opinions on treatment plans, or workload distributions. LEAPS facilitates constructive dialogue and can foster a more collaborative atmosphere.
  • Family Interactions: Engaging with patients’ families, especially in sensitive situations like end-of-life care or when delivering bad news, requires compassionate communication. LEAPS ensures that families feel supported and informed.
  • Error Resolution: In the event of medical errors or adverse events, employing LEAPS can help in transparently communicating with affected parties, thereby maintaining trust and accountability.

By consistently applying LEAPS, health and social care professionals can enhance their conflict resolution skills, ultimately leading to improved patient outcomes, healthier team interactions, and a more supportive care environment.

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