Evelina London patients help to improve their own care

Posted on Thursday 31st August 2017
Young people attend the Evelina London Inspiring Youth Conference

Our young speakers at the Inspiring Youth Conference

More than 50 young people shared their ideas on how their time in hospital could be improved at Evelina London Children’s Hospital's annual Inspiring Youth Conference in August.

The conference saw current and former Evelina London patients, aged eight to 20, suggest how young people could have a better experience in hospital. The event, which was held for the first time last year and run by the Evelina London engagement team, also showcased the work of young people making a difference to others in the hospital and in the wider community.

Eli Russell, 14, who was one of the young patients to attend the conference, said: “I’m really happy to have been invited to the conference because I wanted to have an impact on the hospital that has supported me so much as a patient.

“It means a lot that we can work together with Evelina London to help improve the hospital, and give them our perspective on decisions that will affect our care.”

There were a range of presentations at the conference, including how medical students and doctors can better understand and communicate with young patients in hospital, and what steps the hospital can take to ensure young people receive the highest quality of care, whether they are seen in services designed for children or adults.

At the conference Hannah Thorpe, 20, shared her experience of being a young person on an adult ward, having been admitted to hospital with a serious blood clot while she was a university student.

She said: “Being diagnosed with a blood clot was a real shock, especially at a young age, and it was mentally and physically draining having to be admitted to hospital whilst studying. Thankfully, the care at the hospital was amazing, and the staff, and other support groups such as Thrombosis UK, really helped me know that I wasn’t alone. I was delighted to speak at the conference, because I wanted to let other young people know that illness may be a part of your life, but it doesn’t have to be your whole life.”

Janet Powell, Director of Nursing at Evelina London, said: “Children and young people can often find it worrying to be in hospital, and at Evelina London we are doing all we can to make them feel cared for. We can always improve the ways that we provide age-appropriate care, so it’s important that we listen to what young people have to say.”

Melinda Edwards, who organised the conference as Engagement Lead at Evelina London, said: “We hope that young people will hear these stories and be inspired to get involved in their own way to help shape patient care and experience. The Inspiring Youth Conference is a chance for young people to see that their voices can be heard and they can make a difference.”