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Rethinking Communication in Health and Social Care

by Annette Roebuck

An Ordinary Ward Round?

Most health and social care staff will not be involved in the design of the buildings that they occupy. However, they do have some control over the spaces in which they meet service users. Service users have little or no control over these environments; therefore, professionals should learn how to control the physical environment in a way that makes the service user feel as empowered as possible, and optimises effective communication.

The elements of the physical environment that professionals can have control over are:



  • Colour
  • Lighting
  • Temperature
  • Olfactics (the science of smell)
  • Objects (e.g., central markers, boundary markers, earmarkers, etc)

Members of Communicate2U have created a short film to show you how sensory stimuli may affect them whilst they are interacting with you. After watching the video below, return to page 135 of the book and have a go at the questions in Box 6.7 to help put what you have learned into practice!