Children should be more involved in healthcare decisions that affect them

Research at hospitals in Ireland revealed that children find it difficult to have their views heard | Imelda Coyne for The Conversation


The children said that doctors and nurses were “nice” and “kind”, but some tended to carry out medical procedures without seeking their opinions or telling them beforehand. Some parents helped children to be included in talks about their care, but other parents answered questions on their behalf, told them to stay quiet and withheld information from them. Some parents also told their child to stay quiet and not annoy the doctor or nurse. Being excluded from discussions made some children feel sad, frustrated and angry. As one 14-year-old girl put it: “It made me feel like a piece of machinery; they weren’t actually talking to me.”

Read the full blog post here

RCPCH to launch first ever quality improvement measures for children

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) have  launched a programme of work to develop a set of quality improvement measures specifically for children and young people.


Service Level Quality Improvement Measures for Acute General Paediatric Services, is the first step in a process that will see the development of a set of measures designed to support acute paediatric services following last year’s RCPCH publications of two sets of acute service standards, Facing the Future Together for Child Health and Facing the Future: Standards for Acute General Paediatric Services.

The measures will help to evaluate the impact on service using these standards and assess the impact of locally driven quality improvement initiatives. They can also be used for regular monitoring.

In a consultation that makes up part of the report, there was clear backing from paediatricians to develop outcome standards in this area. The consultation also helped to highlight the key quality improvement measures needed for further development. These include:

  • Management of acute illness by inpatient general paediatric services
  • Patient safety
  • Activity and patient flow
  • Patient and parent/carer experience
  • Staff experience

In addition to the standards, the project will also work to identify research gaps, and work towards a framework to compare the quality of care between units in the future.

Read more on the report:  Service Level Quality Improvement Measures page.

Download the full report here

Measuring standards and improving neonatal care

Following the publication yesterday of the ‘Neonatal audit programme 2016 annual report’,the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has published a leaflet Your baby’s care: measuring standards and improving neonatal care.

Image source:

This leaflet for parents has been designed to help parents and clinicians to work together to achieve the best outcomes for preterm and sick babies who require care.

It is intended that readers will gain a fuller understanding of the audit measures used, the questions the National Neonatal Audit Programme (NNAP) asks and why it asks them, thereby helping parents to comprehend and confidently discuss aspects of their baby’s care.


Helping children on the autism spectrum deal with hospital admissions

Povey, C. Archives of Disease in Childhood. Published Online: 19 August 2016

boy-1299626_960_720For anyone, undergoing surgery is stressful. For children on the autism spectrum, it can be even more traumatic.

Sensory differences are present in the majority of children on the autism spectrum,1 and an increasing number of first person accounts illustrate the effects those sensory differences have on autistic people’s everyday functioning.2 The National Autistic Society recently launched a public awareness campaign, Too Much Information, to raise awareness of the fact that apparently challenging behaviours seen in autistic children may be a result of sensory overload rather than ‘bad’ behaviour (

Read the full editorial here


Play interventions to reduce anxiety and negative emotions in hospitalized children

Li, W.H.C. et al. BMC Pediatrics. 2016 16:36

AS0000081FJ03 Baby, with picture book
Image source: Amanda Sieveking – Wellcome Images

Background: Hospitalization is a stressful and threatening experience, which can be emotionally devastating to children. Hospital play interventions have been widely used to prepare children for invasive medical procedures and hospitalization. Nevertheless, there is an imperative need for rigorous empirical scrutiny of the effectiveness of hospital play interventions, in particular, using play activities to ease the psychological burden of hospitalized children. This study tested the effectiveness of play interventions to reduce anxiety and negative emotions in hospitalized children.

Methods: A non-equivalent control group pre-test and post-test, between subjects design was conducted in the two largest acute-care public hospitals in Hong Kong. A total of 304 Chinese children (ages 3-12) admitted for treatments in these two hospitals were invited to participate in the study. Of the 304 paediatric patients, 154 received hospital play interventions and 150 received usual care.

Results: Children who received the hospital play interventions exhibited fewer negative emotions and experienced lower levels of anxiety than those children who received usual care.

Conclusion: This study addressed a gap in the literature by providing empirical evidence to support the effectiveness of play interventions in reducing anxiety and negative emotions in hospitalized children. Findings from this study emphasize the significance of incorporating hospital play interventions to provide holistic and quality care to ease the psychological burden of hospitalized children.

Read the full article here