Colchester Hospital Youth Service
Children’s Services Colchester Hospital
Email: [email protected]
The National Youth Agency (NYA) is the national body for youth work in England. They state that youth work focuses on the personal and social development of a teenager. Youth workers use tools such as informal education, and reflection on personal values to influence positive changes and support young people to achieve their full potential.
The NYA outline four principles of youth work, which are:
- voluntary participation
- knowledge of the adolescent life stage
- implementation of appropriate boundaries
- Provision of safe environments.
Please see their website at www.nya.org.uk for more details.
There are many methods of youth work, including detached, targeted, group or issue-based. Health-based youth work is increasing in popularity with many hospitals now providing this service.
Youth work is important in a health setting. Young people are at a stage of life where they engage in risk-taking behaviour and learn how best to express themselves. For those with ongoing medical or health needs, this process can be more complex.
Having a long-term health condition can impact all aspects of a young person’s life. For example educational achievements, peer relationships, and self-esteem amongst other things.
Emerging evidence from well established youth services have identified the benefits associated with youth work provision in hospital settings. These found that using youth work in hospitals has proved to be successful and led to increased confidence and self-esteem in young people, a reduction in repeat Emergency Department attendances and subsequent admissions, and increased engagement with medical staff.
Colchester Hospital Youth Service is based within Children’s Services and provides a range of support to young people between 11 and 19 years in hospital. Here are some examples of youth work service provision: Youth Forum The youth forum is run by the hospital youth worker alongside a group of young people. The group meet every eight weeks to discuss their experiences and work to influence change within the hospital. They provide feedback and insights about their care which are vital for improving services for young people.
This supports and provides opportunities for young people with long-term health conditions. It is run by the youth worker and other staff from Children’s services, including guest speakers.
One-to-one support The youth service provides one-to-one support for young people between 11 – 19 years. A doctor or member of the nursing team from the Children’s Outpatient area or Emergency Department may refer a young person to the Youth Service for additional support. Reasons for referrals include, but are not limited to, risk taking behaviour, friendships, managing anger, isolation, education or employment and coping strategies.
Support will be provided after an initial contact by the youth service. The support offered to the young person may be signposting to local community provision through to a series of tailored one-to-one sessions focusing on a specific issue.
The one-to-one sessions are confidential, except in instances where an individual may be at risk. In this case information will need to be shared.
The Paediatric Emergency Department also have youth friendly packs for young people. These contain information about different services available locally.
Cardiology support Youth-friendly information and resources are provided to young people attending the Colchester Hospital and Royal Brompton Hospital Combined Cardiac Outreach clinic. The youth service are available on the day of the clinic to support young people. Also, feedback is gained from young people after consultation to improve the service given.
We are working towards setting up a peer support youth group. Once this is up and running we will be advertising this in the hospital and on our social media platforms.
To find out how to give us feedback on your visit or healthcare experience, please visit www.esneft.nhs.uk and search for ‘PALS’, or speak to a member of staff on the ward or department you are in.