November 2 2012

‘Right Here Right Now’ Children’s Hospital Project

Right Here, Right Now Project

Our Person-Centred Creativity Development Workers Nick Clements and Katja Stiller are currently working on a project at the Children’s Hospital of Wales.

Katja and Nick are offering young patients a safe and fun environment where they are able (as much as possible) to forget about being patients, to have fun and be creative. The idea for this project grew out of discussions with the Children’s Commissioner’s Office around children’s rights, and the sessions are funded by the Arts Council of Wales.

This project is giving participants the opportunity to share their perspective, to make films, produce artwork and to be heard. In this project we are looking at children and young people’s needs and rights using Person-Centred Planning. Person-Centred Planning (PCP) is a set of approaches designed to help someone to plan their life and support needs. Person-Centred Planning aims to put the individual at the centre of decision-making, and works with family members as partners. The process focuses on discovering what is really important to the person; it is based on the values of human rights, inter-dependence, choice, and social inclusion, and it can be designed to enable people to direct their own services and support needs in a personalised way.

Medical Staff know what is important for the children, they focus on improving their health and on addressing their medical needs. On busy wards doctors and nurses might not have the time to find out what is important to the child in their care beyond their physical health and wellbeing. This project is enabling us to listen and collaborate with the children and young people; we are engaging with them and hearing what is important and what really matters to them.

“I want to be seen as a person, not as an illness.” 

This quote came from a boy who died four years ago at the age of seven. Rhys insisted on drawing a picture on his medical notes and to tell the doctors about his hobbies.

Over the next few weeks we want to help the children and young people design a sheet of paper which contains the personal information they would like the medical staff to know as well as what is important to them whilst they are staying in hospital.

We would like to put their sheets of paper in the folders with their medical notes or on the bed of the young patients and see how it affects the relationship between the children and the hospital staff.

Some examples of information the young people would like to include are:

“ I’d like the doctors and nurses to talk to me like an adult. I want the staff to listen to me. I would like the chance to prove myself. I would like my school friends to come and visit me.” (Participant, aged 15)

“I don’t like being stuck on the ward.Not doing anything gets me depressed. I need to be doing more things. I like to stay in touch with my friends. It would be great to have a youth worker. I want to be a beautician one day.” (Participant, aged 15)

“ I want to know what’s going on. I want to be part of any discussion. I want to have my parents around me as much as possible. I like drumming, watching films and playing on the Xbox.” (Participant, aged 15)

We are also working to create a sign for the entrance of the Teenage Cancer Ward. The young people had the idea to put faces and speech bubbles on the sign. They hope the sign will help others to be less scared. Some of the messages include:

Be honest

Tell us how you feel

Share your experience with others

Don’t be frightened

There are no stupid questions

You are still the same person

We listen

We are friendly

We do our best to get you better

You are never alone

We are here to support each other

Take one step at the time…