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Extra NHS funding awarded in East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen to help children and young people communicate better

Just over £5,000 has been awarded by Health Education England to develop a Health and Wellbeing (hospital) Passport, an ‘About Me’ card, and a staff training package.

Going into hospital or attending a hospital clinic can be an anxious, emotionally distressing time for anyone but is even harder for children and young people with learning difficulties. The ‘Health and Wellbeing Passport’ can help the doctors and nurses who care for children and young people with learning difficulties know more about the patient, providing a better understanding of their needs and the support they require.

It is not intended as a care-plan but is designed to offer additional information with regards to the child or young person including their likes and dislikes. For example, the passport can provide information regarding their personal care, the amount of physical contact they like, their favourite drink or food, their interests, how they communicate, what might cause them upset or distress, how to calm them, how they take their medication, how to identify when they are in pain and their level of mobility. It is a very useful document that can support the child or young person’s clinical records and will ensure the child or young person doesn’t have to repeat their history several times making life easier for them.

Jeanette Pearson, Commissioning Manager for CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) for both NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire CCGs, said: “I’m delighted that we have won this funding. It will allow us to promote new ways of working for staff by offering the information required to care for vulnerable children.

Communication can make a big difference to people, especially those with learning difficulties and the hospital passport and ‘About Me’ cards both assist with communication and will help eliminate embarrassment and misunderstanding between patient and clinician. The clinical staff will have to hand all the information required to care for the child/young person, especially if there is no parent or carer available.

In addition to the hospital passport we would also like to provide young people with learning difficulties a small discreet ‘About Me’ card that informs anyone they come into contact on a day to day basis that they may need further assistance. This will allow both adults and children to go about their everyday life without feeling frustrated or embarrassed due to the lack of understanding and awareness that people they come into contact with have regarding their learning disability. The Health and Wellbeing Passport and About Me card empower the young person to be more independent and improves the communication between the patient and the carer.”

Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Director of Nursing and Deputy Director of Education and Quality at Health Education England added: “We are excited by this initiative as it will provide an ideal opportunity to introduce and enhance services to transform the lives of children and young people.

This additional funding means that children, young people and their families can get the tailored support they need through the delivery of improved, more accessible mental health and wellbeing services to ensure they are not only well-supported, but thrive, which will transform the care and lives of many across the country.”