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Communication - we will communicate well with everyone

Staff communicating
'I have a very good psychiatrist who listens to my needs and helps with any problems. She is also very good at getting me to talk about my problems without being too forceful.' Patient

People who use our services and their families and carers should be heard and understood. Communication is at the heart of care - it is the medium through which care is agreed and treatment is delivered. Good communication underpins the care process, and supports good relationships.

We want to make sure you are heard and understood by:

  • Being listened to and having access to regular and meaningful communication with care staff

  • Being understood as an individual

  • Being enabled to make sense of your thoughts, feelings and behaviours

  • Communication needs for individuals being identified and recorded

  • Everyone involved in providing care knows what is happening

  • Families and carers being involved and given information where appropriate

  • The care plan and review shared with you and others involved in a way that makes sense to you

  • Good communication with your GP and others involved

  • Avoiding using jargon, and explaining any abbreviations used

  • Copying letters from staff to you, if you would like them.


This site

There is a glossary on the site that explains the meaning of any terminology that's not obvious - click on the tab above right

If you need this in another language, please contact us

If you need the text larger to be able to read it better, click on the text size at the very top of the page - the bigger the letter A you click on, the bigger the text will get

 What's good about your care?: "Honest and open communication." Service User

We want to make sure you can access the information you need.

  • There is a glossary on the site that explains the meaning of any terminology that's not obvious 

  • If you need information in another language, click on the buttons at the bottom of the front page to translate the whole site, or contact us for a leaflet translation

  • If you prefer Easy Read, click here

  • If you need a care plan or other form translating, let us know

  • If you need the text larger to be able to read it better, click on the text size at the very top of the page - the bigger the letter A you click on, the bigger the text will get

Communication can take many forms, verbal and non-verbal, written and pictorial, physical and subtle, and can take place between individuals and across agencies. Any communication in health and social care should take into account issues of power, diversity, context and environment, all of which affect the quality and content of the communication. Good communication can also be brief, ordinary, and effective, and the impact of any communication should not be underestimated.

Age and developmental stage may also affect communication. Children and young people do not always have the words, cognitive concepts or emotional awareness to name and convey complex feelings and experiences, but make use of more symbolic langauges such as play. These have been described as the 'hundred languages of childhood' (Edwards et al, 2003).

Listen to a discussion about the importance of Non-Verbal Communication with people with a learning disability

Using the right language

We always try to avoid using jargon and abbreviations, but sometimes we have to use the terms that have been set for us. If we've not explained these properly, we're sorry - please ask. We've also got a glossary on this site to explain some terms

Sometimes people use terms that are out of date or inappropriate - Find out about using the right language for a mental health problem from Time to Change

Communicating with people who have particular needs

Most people with autism or Asperger syndrome have some difficulties with social communication and interaction. The National Autistic Society offers information about ways in which communication and social skills can be developed.


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Find out about social media and staff engagement


If you require any information about our policies please contact:

Freedom of Information
Ashbourne Centre
Kingsway Site
Derby DE22 3LZ
or email:

There are lots of ways of recording communication needs, and promoting better communication. Some of the ways that people using mental health services can record their wishes include:

  • Aims or goals form

  • Carers Own Assessment form                  

  • Advance Directive or Statement of Wishes

People whose first language is not English may need an interpreter:

  • Face to face Interpreter request form


People with a learning disability can express their wishes through:

  •  Communication Care Plan

BOE – Brief Ordinary Effective Communication –  an explanation by Professor Paul Crawford of the principles of this way of viewing communication

E-learning from SCIE includes:


Talkwell – encouraging the art of communication on mental health wards, is a conversation training resource for inpatient staff on:

How to make information accessible for people with a learning disability can be downloaded from Change

The Quality of Health Principles from Changing our Lives, an organisation that works for people with disabilities 

Dept of Health - easy read standards

Emailable communication toolkit