Recent publication of ‘Standards for Children and Young People in Emergency Care Settings’ has brought involvement of young people in service design into the spotlight. Whilst many studies have focussed on parental opinion, our project aimed to involve ACTIVE, a young peoples’ focus group. This group of young people aged 8 – 18 years was set up 4 years ago with the aim to improve services for children at our hospital, especially for adolescents.
Methods The group defined their priorities for emergency department (ED) care in a brainstorming session followed by a visit to the ED in the form of a simulated patient journey.
Results ACTIVE identified speed of assessment, clear communication, prompt pain relief and attention to their comfort needs as well as privacy as their main priorities. On visiting the ED they pointed out areas for improvement as follows: paediatric nursing staff at pre-triage, decoration or lack thereof in certain areas of the department (but also positive comments on where this was done well), lack of privacy in defined areas and ways to communicate waiting times effectively and accurately. Whilst a dedicated ‘teenage room’ was not felt to be important, the need for a quiet waiting and clinical area was stressed.
Outcome and conclusion Studies have shown that adolescent satisfaction in the ED is often lower than that of adult patients. Young peoples’ focus groups are an effective resource in the design of services and in the case of our centre have led to direct input into the re-design of our paediatric ED area (the proposed plans will available for inspection). Feedback to young service users is important to encourage further participation and to ensure that they are aware of how their suggestions will be used.