Infancy To Adulthood Effective Communication
Communication plays a very important part in the practice of radiography. It’s important that radiographers must be aware of the age-specific needs which can be achieved through effective communication. People grow and develop in stages that are associated with their age, level of understanding and communication. The difference between patients age creates challenges to the standard of health care provided to all aspects. Individuals share certain qualities at each stage of age from neonate and infant, toddlers, preschoolers, school-aged, adolescents, young adults, middle-aged adults to late aged adults. Knowledge of those stages will implement you to provide quality care to patients from infancy to adulthood.
First stages of life are neonate and infant, which is birth to at least one year. During this stage, communications are established using facial expressions, body movements and other nonverbal behaviors, and vocalizations (Adler, A. M. K., & Carlton, R. R., 2016, p. 140). An infant to be aware of the modulation of voice and facial expressions. When involved with an infant, they take comfort in being embraced in a position they are familiar with. For example, being swaddled, a soothing voice and a gentle approach. Older infants mostly experience separation anxiety because of the very fact that they’re more tuned into their surroundings. Therefore, allowing the parents to assist during the examination as much as possible and limiting the amount of unfamiliar surroundings. Using familiar objects and incorporating play will also serve to distract the infant during the examination (EHRLICH, RUTH ANN. COAKES, DAWN M, 2017, p. 107). By twelve months children can develop a recollection of previous experiences with being in a medical care setting. Safety is a must, never leave a child unattended during an examination. Within the radiology department, it’s important to safety strap the infant to the pediatric immobilizer when doing a chest or abdomen x-ray. Instructing the parent to help with holding infants arms during the exam by giving them a lead gown to wear.
Toddlers 1 to 2 years of age communicate with simple two to three-word sentences and also like to be observant of their environment. Often, toddlers are concerned only with what you are going to do to them at the moment (Adler, A. M. K., & Carlton, R. R., 2016, p. 140). Speaking, engaging and playing, like using a familiar toy to them with the toddler to distract them during the examination will help reduce their fear and anxiety. Even if the toddler does not understand what you are communicating to them, speaking in a cheery voice is often reassuring. Incorporating pretend play by using the parent to show the child how you would perform the x-ray on the parent also helps the child have a better understanding.
Preschoolers ages 3 to 5 years old start to increase in their independence and gain understanding. At this age, children are able to hold a conversation, share information, and need encouragement in cooperating. With this age group visual aids like showing them how you are going to position them for the image or how to hold their breath for a chest x-ray, are often more effective than verbal communication. Making eye contact, speaking clearly and explaining what the examination is about in simplest form to the child and parent. Children can be frightened, may cry and their anxiety may increase. However, following this approach may help complete the examination as quickly and effectively as possible.
School-aged children ages 6 to 12 have a more concrete understanding of information and following instructions. This age group can verbally explain specific areas of pain as well as body parts involved and understand the process of the examination. As the radiologic technologist being honest about the examination with the child by giving them the attention to distract them from resistance of an examination. For example, helping a child rationalize how an excretory urogram helps the physician find out why it hurts to urinate, is an appropriate method of diverting attention from the pain of the venipuncture (Adler, A. M. K., & Carlton, R. R., 2016, p. 140). Even though school-aged children have an increased attention span you can use visuals to explain to them and allow them to also help whenever possible.
Adolescents ages 13 to 18 act much like adults in certain situations, but can go back to being childlike under fearful circumstances. When a teenager is sick or dealing with a difficult situation, they most likely become that way. As the Radiographer in the x-ray department, you must show sensitivity towards adolescent patients regarding their fears and emotions. At this phase in life, they feel intimidated by their appearance, self-control, and self-sufficiency. Modesty and privacy are paramount importance, and x-ray images may be feared as the “all-seeing eye”, ready to unveil the patient’s innermost secrets (EHRLICH, RUTH ANN. COAKES, DAWN M, 2017, p.109). This statement above refers to that as a radiography technologist, one must consider the concerns, privacy and fears of the teenager. Always keeping the teenager informed and direct communication toward them during the examination, even if the parent is present. Teens relate to grown-up conversations and expect to be approached at the same level as an adult, despite their limitations in life.
Young adults ages 19 to 45 are searching for and finding a place of oneself in society, gain dependence and begin to express concerns for their health. As the radiographer technologist, it is important to involve the patient in decision making, allow them to ask questions and help them to gain as much information as necessary to help them make the appropriate decisions on their health and wellness. Providing support, honesty and respect one’s dignity. Monitor for body language as an indication of feelings and stressors. Radiology personnel must have the skills and knowledge needed to answer any questions the patient has to provide any needs to their concerns.
Middle-aged adults 45 to 65 years go through changes that affect them physically and mentally.