[PDF] Not just a phase : a guide to the participation of children and young people in health services

Source:
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health - RCPCH
Publisher:
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)
Publication date:
30 April 2010

Abstract

Not Just a Phase has been developed and published by the Young People's Health Special Interest Group of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. It provides information to ensure the safe, meaningful and ethical participation of children and young people within the delivery of quality child health services and practically demonstrates how we can contribute towards creating a culture of participation.

The executive sumamary reads:

  • Participation is defined as the process by which individuals and/or groups of individuals can influence the decision making process and bring about change.
  • Participation involves a continuum from involvement of individual young people in decisions affecting their dailylife to the engagement of large groups of young people in making strategic decisions about the use of substantial healthcare resources.
  • Children and young people’s right to participate in matters affecting their lives is laid out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), a legally binding International convention.
  • Participation of children, young people and their families in the design and development of services is government health policy.
  • There are different degrees of children and young people’s participation and it is important to be aware of the pitfalls of non-participation such as tokenism, manipulation and decoration.
  • The research evidence base for children and young people’s participation is limited. Future research efforts should concentrate on important health outcomes and consider the cost effectiveness of different methods of participation. Consideration should be given to how interventions such as participation impact on health
    inequality.
  • Participation has the potential to reduce health inequalities; however this requires an understanding of existing power imbalances, barriers affecting the involvement of children and young people from diverse backgrounds and a range of experience, and an invested commitment to address the inequalities.
  • The ethos, culture and environment in which children and young people participate should be safe, ageappropriate and accessible for children and young people with a range of abilities.
  • Safeguarding children and young people, respecting their confidentiality and ensuring their wellbeing at all times is paramount to the success of any participation initiative and strategy.
  • There are a number of key steps in planning a participation initiative. Children and young people should be involved in the planning. Youth workers have skills and expertise in facilitating the meaningful participation of children and young people.
  • Service leaders should develop a culture of participation within their organisation.
  • The participation of children and young people should be evaluated systematically and the outcomes shared with key stakeholders. The contribution that children and young people make should be valued and any successes celebrated.
  • Children and young people can participate in many different ways, including commissioning services, designing the built healthcare environment, recruiting and selecting staff, governance of health services and developing healthcare research.
  • There are many different methods by which children and young people can participate in health services including questionnaires and surveys, focus and advisory groups, interactive media, youth councils and forums or as mystery shoppers, young inspectors and young researchers.
  • The participation of children and young people contributes to the quality of health services for children and young people, it improves the health of children and young people and it’s fun!