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Child hospital fears dispelled

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Health Secretary Alex Neil with patients at The Royal Hospital for the Sick Yorkhill

By Rebecca Root

Health secretary Alex Neil announced that a scheme to help children overcome their fear of being in hospital will be available across Scotland in the next two years.

The hospital passport project has been developed by psychologists at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Yorkhill.

The passport book includes a variety of activities that children can complete before and during their stay to help them understand their treatment. It also includes a pack of bright idea cards to help the children communicate how they are feeling.

Mr Neil said: “The kids absolutely love it and parents and staff say it is wonderful. Going into hospital can be a scary time for a child and this passport is a great tool to help put children at ease. It is about creating a more positive experience for the child and allows them to participate in decisions.”

Over 90% of parents said they would recommend it as a useful tool with 100% of children giving positive feedback. The passport is jointly funded by Yorkhill Children’s Foundation and NHS Education for Scotland.

Dr Janie Donnan, psychologist and co-creator of the passport coping kit said: “It gives children a simple way to make choices about what would help them with procedures and treatments, and communicates those easily to staff, which helps place them at the heart of decision making around their own healthcare.”

Mr Neil said that within the next two years every hospital in Scotland will offer these passports to children between the ages of five and eleven.

Colin Slater, a parent involved in the pilot scheme said his son attends Yorkhill regularly and the passport tis a helpful tool. “It takes apprehension away. Before he would ask lots of questions and get quite anxious but now he is more relaxed because he has his passport book.”

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