Improving Young Adult Care
Hi guys, Thines here!
This is my first blog post, so let’s make it a good one!
On 17 July, Courtney, Ravi, Rahul, Haima (fellows members of the Youth Advisory Panel for the RCPCH) and myself were invited to help facilitate an event held at the Royal College of Physicians HQ in Regents Park. This event was to get feedback and input from young people in order to try and improve the quality of healthcare delivered to young people between the ages of 16 – 25 who continue to receive medical care in an adult setting.
The day started off with introductions from Dr Angela Robinson (Chair of the Young Adult and Adolescent Steering Group) and also from Rahul and Haima who set the scene for the course of events throughout the day. They metioned that we, as young adults, are like the forgotten generation. There has been lots of work to try and improve care for toddlers and young teens in medical care but there has not been much work in order to try and improve the way we as young adults are looked after. We were encouraged to provide as much feedback on the day, which would then be used as material to push for improvements in this area.
After all the necessary introductions were made we set about with what the whole day was about, talking (everyone loves to talk!) about experiences and sharing our stories, be they good or bad ones. Only by hearing about everyone's stories could we try and make improvements on the issues which young adult patients faced when they went in for medical care.
We came up with problems that young patients faced and after a delicious hot lunch we set about thinking up possible solutions to these problems amongst groups and then shared them with our peers and other healthcare professionals who were present at the event.
The key issues which we came up were:
- Young adult patients felt as though they were not being listened to, if their parents were there with them, the doctors tended to ask them the questions rather than the patients. As one of the young people said: 'Talk to me first, not my parents'.
- Others felt as if doctors, especially middle-aged doctors, did not know how to communicate with young adults properly.
- Some felt, especially those being transferred over from paediatrics to adult services, that they had not built up enough confidence to be able to discuss issues openly and confidently with their new adult consultants.
Some of the possible solutions we came up with were:
- Retraining for some of the older doctors in how to communicate better with young adult patients, possibly in the form of workshops with a group of young adults being moved into adult care. This also acts as a way for us to get used to talking to adult doctors and helps us to build up confidence.
- A better transition system to be put in place for those being moved from paediatrics to adult services, with the possibility of a young adult clinic during the transition phase.
Overall it turned out to be a very good day and I enjoyed attending very much. For me it is always a great opportunity to meet other young patients such as myself and to talk about different aspects of healthcare - seeing if others are experiencing the same things I am and hearing about different ways in which hospitals across the country are trying to improve the way they look after their young adults.
So until next time guys, live long and prosper!