2.1 Find out an individual’s communication and language needs wishes and preferences

2.1 Find out an individual’s communication and language needs wishes and preferences

Communication in Care Settings

Care Learning

5 mins READ

This guide will help you answer The RQF Level 2 Diploma in Care Unit 2.1 Find out an individual’s communication and language needs wishes and preferences.

Understanding and responding to an individual’s communication needs is fundamental to providing effective and person-centred care. Here’s a detailed explanation to help you complete this unit:

  • Communication Needs: These refer to the methods or tools required by an individual to communicate effectively. This includes the necessity for specific aids or adaptations for those with disabilities, hearing impairments, speech difficulties, or learning disabilities.
  • Language Needs: These encompass the requirement for specific languages or dialects, including the use of sign language, braille, or alternative communication systems.
  • Wishes and Preferences: These relate to how individuals prefer to communicate, which can include their chosen methods, languages, tone, style, and any cultural sensitivities that influence their communication.

Understanding these aspects is vital to providing dignified and respectful care, promoting autonomy, ensuring appropriate and responsive interactions, and fostering a trusting relationship between the care provider and the individual.

Assessment Methods:

    • Observation: Pay close attention to how the individual attempts to communicate in different situations. Note any gestures, facial expressions, or aids they use.
    • Direct Enquiry: Engage in conversation with the individual. Ask direct questions about their preferred communication methods, any difficulties they encounter, and any assistance they need.
    • Utilising Support Systems: Speak to family members, friends, or advocates who may have insights into the individual’s communication needs and preferences.
    • Reviewing Records: Examine their care plans, medical records, or previous assessments that might provide relevant information on communication and language needs.
    • Professional Assessments: In some cases, it may be necessary to involve speech and language therapists, audiologists, or other specialists to conduct a thorough assessment.

    Individualised Communication Plans:

      • Use the gathered information to develop a communication care plan tailored to the individual’s needs. This should include preferred languages, communication aids, and any required adaptations.
      • Ensure that all staff members who interact with the individual are aware of and understand their communication plan.

      Adapting Communication Methods:

        • Verbal Communication: Modify language use, speak clearly and at a moderate pace, use simple sentences, and allow time for the individual to process and respond.
        • Non-Verbal Communication: Employ gestures, facial expressions, body language, and other visual aids that support understanding.
        • Technological Aids: Utilise communication devices such as tablets with speech-generating applications, hearing aids, or text-to-speech software.
        • Written Material: Provide written information in formats that the individual can understand, such as large print, braille, or simplified text.

        Cultural and Linguistic Considerations:

          • Acknowledge and respect cultural differences in communication styles. For example, eye contact, personal space, and the formality of language may vary across cultures.
          • Where necessary, bring in interpreters to assist with language barriers, ensuring they are qualified and preferably familiar with the individual’s cultural background.

          Review and Adaptation:

            • Regularly review and update the individual’s communication plan to reflect any changes in their needs or preferences. This ensures the care provided remains relevant and effective.

            Legislation and Codes of Practice:

              • Ensure compliance with relevant legislation such as the Equality Act 2010, which mandates reasonable adjustments to communicate effectively with all individuals.
              • Adhere to the Code of Conduct for Healthcare Support Workers and Adult Social Care Workers in England, which highlights the importance of respecting and supporting individuals’ communication needs.

              Example answers for Unit 2.1 Find out an individual’s communication and language needs wishes and preferences

              As a care worker, my role involves understanding and addressing the unique communication needs, wishes, and preferences of each individual I support. Below is an example of how I approached this task with a resident named Mr John Smith, a 78-year-old man with early-stage dementia.


                • During my initial interactions with Mr Smith, I noticed that he often looked confused when spoken to quickly and tended to rely on gestures to express his needs. He seemed to struggle with hearing in his left ear.
                • I also observed that he frequently used reading glasses, indicating that he might also have visual impairments affecting his ability to read labels or written instructions.

                Direct Enquiry:

                  • I sat down with Mr Smith in a quiet and comfortable setting and asked him directly about his communication preferences. He shared that he prefers conversations to be at a slower pace and in a quiet environment because of his difficulty hearing.
                  • Mr Smith mentioned that he used to enjoy reading but finds it hard due to his visual impairment. He expressed a preference for large print books and written materials that have clear, bold text.

                  Utilising Support Systems:

                    • I reached out to Mr Smith’s daughter, who visits him regularly. She confirmed that her father has mild hearing loss in his left ear and that he responds well to people sitting on his right side when speaking to him.
                    • She also mentioned that he knows basic British Sign Language (BSL) as his late wife was a BSL user.

                    Reviewing Records:

                      • I reviewed Mr Smith’s care plan, which provided additional details on his dementia diagnosis and indicated occasional confusion, particularly in the afternoon (commonly known as sundowning).

                      Professional Assessments:

                        • I consulted with our in-house speech and language therapist to get further insights and recommendations on assisting Mr Smith with his communication needs. The therapist suggested the use of hearing aids and visual aids like pictorial cards to support his understanding and expression.

                        Individualised Communication Plan:

                          • Based on the gathered information, I developed a communication plan for Mr Smith:
                            • Speak slowly and clearly, ensuring to face him while speaking.
                            • Use pictorial aids and show him objects directly when talking about them.
                            • Provide written materials in large, bold text and offer audiobooks as an alternative.
                            • Encourage the use of BSL for basic communication needs, and ensure that staff is trained in basic BSL.
                            • Always approach him from his right side to accommodate his hearing preference.
                            • Ensure that the environment is quiet during conversations to minimise background noise and distractions.

                          Adapting Communication Methods:

                            • When interacting with Mr Smith, I make sure to sit on his right side and speak clearly at a moderate pace. I also use gestures and pictorial cards to reinforce my words.
                            • I’ve arranged for his reading materials to be in large print and have introduced audiobooks, which he enjoys listening to in the afternoons.

                            Cultural and Linguistic Considerations:

                              • Mr Smith has a Christian background and prefers to discuss topics related to his faith during our interactions. I respect this preference and have integrated some faith-based books in large print into his reading options.

                              Review and Adaptation:

                                • I meet with Mr Smith and his daughter monthly to review his communication plan, making adjustments as needed based on any changes in his needs or preferences.

                                Legislation and Codes of Practice:

                                • In developing and implementing Mr Smith’s communication plan, I have ensured compliance with the Equality Act 2010 by making reasonable adjustments to support his hearing and visual impairments.
                                • I adhere to the Code of Conduct for Healthcare Support Workers and Adult Social Care Workers in England by showing respect for Mr Smith’s individual communication needs and promoting his dignity.

                                  Through these steps, I have been able to effectively meet Mr John Smith’s communication and language needs, wishes, and preferences, ensuring he feels supported and understood in his daily interactions.

                                  This detailed example demonstrates a comprehensive approach to meeting the unit requirements, illustrating the importance of personalised and respectful care.


                                  By meticulously following these steps, care workers can ensure they meet the significant unit requirement of discerning and responding to an individual’s communication and language needs, wishes, and preferences, thereby enhancing the quality of care and fostering a supportive and understanding environment.

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