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Would a parent-delivered programme of training for paediatric ward staff improve the effectiveness of communication with disabled children and their parents in hospitals?
Hospital admissions in children with long-term neurological conditions are common. It is therefore crucial that communication between staff and families is clear and that a therapeutic relationship is formed, for the benefit of the child. Communication is particularly likely to be a major issue for children with a learning disability or those who find social interaction difficult. A review of the scientific literature by researchers at Peninsula Cerebra Research Unit at the Peninsula Medical School found that many parents perceive that health professionals do not have the necessary skills to communicate successfully with these children, and that this lack of skills and experience is recognised by many health professionals.
Although there are no formal guidelines on how staff should communicate with disabled children and their families, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) expresses a commitment to provide opportunities for parents, carers and the public to work with health professionals to collect evidence that can form guidance.
The Hospital Communications project aims to work with children with disabilities and their families to improve staff communication with children in hospital. Our work should result in more effective communication, meaning that time spent in hospital is less stressful for children and families. Improving communication will also enable staff and parents to agree on, and adhere to, the treatment the child receives.Find out more