Scottish Government
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Children’s hospital passport

An innovative scheme which aims to help children combat their fear of being in hospital, is to be rolled out in children’s hospitals across Scotland.

The Hospital Passport scheme was developed by psychologists at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow (Yorkhill) and has been piloted in a number of wards in the hospital.

Children can use the passport around the hospital collecting a variety of stickers and stamps as they go through various treatments, or “travel” to different departments.

It aims to make children feel more at ease, and more involved in their treatment and care.

Health Secretary Alex Neil yesterday visited Yorkhill Hospital to meet some of the children who have benefitted from the passport.

Mr Neil said: “Going into hospital can be a scary time for a child, and this passport is a great tool to help put children at ease. It gives them ways to feel more prepared when coming into hospital for appointments, assessments and treatments.

“I’ve met with some of the children and families who have used the passport to hear their own experiences of how it helped make going into hospital seem less daunting.

“I am delighted that the passport is now to be rolled out to other children’s hospitals across Scotland, and I hope it can make a difference to the experiences of more children and their families.”

A parent involved in the pilot scheme said: “It definitely helped me and my child talk more and made it easier to approach what is wrong with her and why she has come to hospital.”

One of the children said: “It is good cos it helps the doctors and nurses help me better.”

The passport is jointly funded by Yorkhill Children’s Foundation and NHS Education for Scotland (NES).

There has also been interest from Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and the National Children’s Hospital in Dublin to develop their own passport scheme.

Children or their parents can request a copy of the Hospital Passport Coping Kit from staff when they come into hospital.

It includes an information sheet for parents so they can use the passport to talk through with their child what will happen to them in hospital, discuss anything which is making the child anxious, and choose techniques to make them feel less worried.

It is primarily aimed at primary school aged children but can also be used for older children.

Psychologist Dr Janie Donnan, who co-created the Hospital Passport Coping Kit at Yorkhill, explained: “The passport has proven to be a great success not only among children but also with parents and staff and we are delighted that we’ve had so much interest in developing it further and rolling it out across Scotland.

“Of the children and parents we surveyed about the impact of the passport, 100 per cent of children said they would recommend it to their friends and more than 90 per cent of parents said they would recommend the Hospital Passport as a useful tool.

“It gives children a simple way to make choices about what would help them with procedures and treatments, and communicates those easily to staff, which helps place them at the heart of decision making around their own healthcare.

“Staff also found the passport helped them with hints and tips in how to support children during procedures and make hospital visits as positive an experience as possible for them.”

Yorkhill Children’s Foundation Director of Fundraising David Welch added: "The Hospital Passport is a crucial tool in supporting children and families during hospital visits and procedures.

“It is vital children are given as much help and assistance as quickly as possible to ensure any distress or discomfort is dealt with quickly and appropriately - we are delighted the Hospital Passport it set to reach a national audience around Scotland which is an initiative we hope to continue to support.”

Programme Director for Paediatric Psychology at NHS Education for Scotland, Dr Terri Carney, said: “We are delighted to have supported the pilot for the Hospital Passport and to have financed the training in the use of the Passport for paediatric staff throughout NHSScotland. 

“It links in with other ongoing wider skills based training programmes for paediatric staff designed to improve communication with children and young people and increase psychological knowledge and understanding within paediatric staff across Scotland.”

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