Interpersonal communication

Interpersonal Communication for Case Managers

Case Managers spend a large part of their day communicating with others whether by email, fax, phone or face to face. They must be skilled at communicating effectively with patients, family members, caregivers and providers. Interpersonal communication not only involves sending a message, but also involves receiving a message. 

Listening is a fundamental part of interpersonal communication. To listen effectively, it is important to avoid jumping to conclusions or making premature judgements. Active listening involves nodding the head, repeating back what is said or note taking. It is important to understand that note taking should be kept to a minimum as to not spend more time looking at the computer or notepad then the person speaking. 

There are 4 components to communication:

  • Sender
  • Message
  • Receiver
  • Context (values, health beliefs, cultural background, pain etc.)

Barriers to effective communication include:

  • Physical interference- background noise, non private setting
  • Psychological noise- pain, hunger, anger, anxiety
  • Barrier to processing information- information overload, educational deficit, cognitive deficit
  • Perceptual barriers- prejudices of the listener formed by their unique experiences, cultural background and value system
  • Structural barriers- layers of bureaucracy or other difficulty in reaching person

Building trust or rapport with the person you are communicating with is important. Building rapport can be accomplished by focusing on shared goals. Trust is built over time by doing what you say you will do, when you say you will do it.