Background and aims Traditional healthcare services, often designed around adults and young children, under serve adolescents, who have distinct physical and psychological needs. The WHO-endorsed UK ‘You’re Welcome’ Quality criteria for young people friendly health services (2011) has driven improvements, but it is unclear how these generic standards apply to the critically ill. Using an ICU-adapted version, we undertook a pan-European baseline survey of current practice.
Methods Healthcare professionals and a past patient young people group selected 6 key areas: Privacy, Permission, DVT Prophylaxis, Personal life, Puberty and Practical issues (6Ps). A questionnaire regarding these 6Ps/related care was translated into 7 languages and distributed to ESPNIC members.
Results 70/358 (20%) clinicians from 54 institutions responded across 16 countries. Young people (<16 years) mostly treated in PICUs; 18+ in adult units; 16–18 evenly split. For adolescents, 68% of hospitals undertake DVT prophylaxis, 50% have a privacy during care policy, but only 24% preferably allocate awake patients same-sex staff and 50% remove catheters before patient awake. 90% routinely take social history, falling to 32% for sexual history and 54% for recreational drug use. 63% undertake routine pregnancy testing and 89% seek consent from adolescents themselves if possible.
Conclusions An ICU stay can have significant, long-lasting impacts on young people and their families. This is the first pan-European survey to investigate ICU care for this group. We identified significant variation in adherence to quality standards. Some of this may be culturally influenced but there are also differences in less obviously controversial measures e.g. DVT prophylaxis. Further qualitative work is planned.
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