Lindsay Huxter, Deputy Lead for the Play Team, runs the Youth Empowerment Squad, which is a forum for people aged 11 to 25 to discuss projects that could positively influence the hospital environment for people their age. At their recent virtual meeting, the group mentioned there were lots of COVID-19 resources for small children, but not nearly as many for young people.
The group decided to create something that people their age could understand. With their help, staff at Barts Health were able to design a new leaflet that covered everything from hospital visitor restrictions, to home-schooling, to advice on how to connect with their friends while remaining socially distanced.
“We made sure that the Youth Empowerment Squad reviewed all aspects of the leaflet before it was sent to the illustrator,” says Lindsay. “Colours, fonts, language and diversity within the leaflet characters were all considered in order to make the leaflet accessible to all young people.”
Lucy Wootton, Clinical Lead for the Play Team, who works with children in hospital, has been dealing with similar issues. The Play Team were contacted by Dr. Susie Minson, Consultant Paediatrician at the Royal London Hospital, very early on in the pandemic to discuss whether they had any child friendly resources to explain COVID-19 to young patients.
Lucy says, “We were unable to find appropriate resources that explains what it is like for a child in a hospital setting and more specifically, on testing and the PPE staff are wearing.”
After seeing the fear and anxiety that the lack of information was creating for paediatric patients and their families, the Play Team and Dr Susie Minson set out to design their own leaflet. Leaflets are given to any children who are suspected COVID-19 patients at The Royal London, Whipps Cross and Newham Hospital. The Play Team made sure it wasn’t hospital-specific, so that NHS Trusts all across the country could use it.
“We have had so many messages from healthcare staff across the country asking to share the leaflet with their paediatric patients!” says Lucy. “We have been using funding from the charity for so many little things during this time, it has been invaluable.”