National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
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Hearing the voices of young patients

It’s important for everyone to recognise that babies, children and young people have a choice and a voice.

Aishah Farooq, lay member of the NICE guideline committee

Accessing healthcare services as a young person can be a daunting, terrifying and anxious experience – at least that’s how I felt. The first few steps on a ward felt like an unknown territory; hearing different voices and listening to the constant beeping of all the machines in the background felt unfamiliar and somewhat disorientating. The remainder of my visit felt like a blur and though I had all the experts around I still felt vulnerable and anxious.

My personal journey as a young person accessing healthcare was my motivation behind contributing to the NICE guideline on babies, children and young people’s experience of healthcare. My voice and the voices of three other young people and babies (through their parents and carers), all with varying lived experiences of using the healthcare system, has directly fed into the development of this guideline. The guideline has been collaboratively produced to create and form recommendations in key areas that are important for babies, children and young people to have a positive healthcare experience.

The recommendations formed in the guideline offer children and young people more opportunities for involvement in their healthcare particularly in shared decision making. In many situations, young people are overlooked entirely when decisions are being made and often they’re not given comprehendible information. However, the guideline places more emphasis on giving children and young people more understandable information through a form of communication that best suits them – this could be as simple as using images or involving the play therapy team. Using as many resources as possible to help give the child and young person the best understanding is paramount in supporting them with decision making, not only for complex decisions but also for simpler choices, such as choosing plaster cast colours.

Through the publishing of this guideline, I hope that healthcare professionals can actively implement the recommendations and use them throughout their practice, whether that be in primary or secondary care. It’s important for everyone to recognise that babies, children and young people have a choice and a voice which is emphasised through this guideline.

 

Channel website: https://www.nice.org.uk/

Original article link: https://www.nice.org.uk/news/blog/hearing-the-voices-of-young-patients

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