We learn to communicate from the moment we are born but as we get older, communication can become more difficult. This could be due to hearing loss or even a brain injury. Loss of communication can lead to isolation.
In the Court of Protection team we have to show that a person cannot understand decisions involving their money. We will ask if a person can:
If a person cannot do any of the above then they will not understand decisions about their money and this includes being able to communicate their wishes.
Most people think that communication relates only to being able to speak but in fact it often encompass much more such as nodding or facial expressions and other kinds of body language such as the blinking.
I was recently able to communicate with a young adult client of mine by concentrating on her facial expressions. When she didn’t agree with something her face saddened and had a beaming smile when she agreed. Her views were very clear!
Also, bear in mind that a person’s communication skills may be better at certain times of the day – maybe the afternoon rather than the morning.
Have you seen the film “The Theory of Everything”? This was about the life of Stephen Hawking, a Cambridge physicist. Stephen has Motor Neurone Disease, causing his muscles to waste which eventually affected his speech. However, his brain was not affected. Finally, a tracheotomy meant that he lost what little speech he had left. What impressed me was the way in which his nurse was able to help him communicate using a spelling board. It was a laborious process and you could see how frustrating and demoralising it was when he couldn’t communicate.
The only time we would not be able to communicate with a person would be if they had locked in syndrome or were unconscious or in a coma.
Locked in syndrome is a condition in which a patient is aware but cannot move or communicate verbally due to paralysis of muscles so that they have absolutely no control over their body.
However, an article published on the BBC website showed that a brain-computer interface could be used to read the thoughts of patients to answer basic yes or no questions. One man was able to repeatedly refuse permission for his daughter to marry!
Hopefully advances in technology will help us communicate so that we maintain this basic ability as human’s thrive through communication.
Should you ever need to consider a deputy to manage the financial affairs of a family member or friend then please contact us as we will always try to communicate in the best way suited for that person. We can help them understand the process and ensure that they are involved in as much of the decision making as possible.