I should be the one involved in decisions about my health because I’m the one feeling the pain, no one else, no one else knows what I’m feeling.
They always speak to my mum. They should speak to me directly.
Decisions should be made with us, not about us, no matter how big or small, because they are about our bodies and our lives.
Children and young people tell us that good communication is more than eye contact or body language. It is about involving them in choices and decisions, drawing on their experience and expertise about their own health, and enabling them to feel in control of their healthcare. We know this is important for people of all ages, but this is a particular challenge for children and young people, who say that all too often that:
- Communication is between healthcare staff and their parents
- Their involvement in healthcare conversations is often limited to non-health related issues and they are less involved in discussions about treatment or making choices and decisions.
- They are not asked how things should happen
- Adults use complex language that they struggle to understand
- If they are assertive, knowledgeable, or ask questions then this is often misread as them being difficult or challenging
Me first aims to change this by putting children and young people at the centre of the conversations about their health and healthcare. The project has developed a new range of training and online resources to improve communication between children, young people and healthcare professionals.