Wednesday, 25 April 2018

What Children's Hospitals can look like.

Reflecting on a visit to Sant Joan de Déu, Barcelona Hospital where the young person is at the centre of care. The key points of my talk for AQuAS can be found here.

A view from the hill
Over a year ago, I was at a Conference in London and heard about an amazing children’s hospital. The presenters, Begonia Nafria Escalera and Joana Claverol Torres, explained how children and their parents were at the centre of co-designing almost every aspect of Sant Joan de Déu, Barcelona Hospital. The photos they showed were inspiring. 

A few weeks ago, I had the absolute pleasure of visiting this hospital with its wonderful outlook over the city. 

The sights within the hospital are even more breathtaking. The entrance is light and airy - I have come into a a very calm environment, a playground, a welcoming educational experience. 

with Begonia and Joana

Begonia and Joana were wonderful hosts and guides. They are advocates of how hospitals can be friendly, informative, care giving and at the centre of research. Our friendship is made possible through the links made by GenerationR and @jen_preston1

Thank you for giving of your time to show us and our granddaughter around. Jayah saw it as one of her highlights of her time in Barcelona. 

The space is filled with objects that invite you to enter, play and enjoy.  Each object actually represents parts of the human body, the heart, digestive tract, the brain and the lungs. Useful practical metaphors to be used by clinicians in later talks with children and parents. 

Hello from Nottingham

A colourful and inviting shop (run by the hospital charity) is next to a friendly cafeteria. The parents and children played a key role in making sure the cafe area was open yet offered intimate private spaces. The staff were all smiling and helpful.

This is a hospital made for children and parents. Research is just what they do to make people better.

Sant Joan de Deu meets me as a person rather than forces me to fit into a medical world. 

In most Hospitals if you get cancer you enter ONCOLOGY, if you have difficulty seeing you enter OPHTHALMOLOGY, when you have difficulty breathing please enter RESPIRATORY. Here, in Barcelona, a deceptively simple leaflet asks Where are you going? and asks... “If you are a child and you need the Emergency Department then go to....”

This experience makes you question whether our hospitals use language as a means of control. I begin to wonder whether this is really acceptable any more. Perhaps it is time to turn the tide and learn from what is happening here in Barcelona and at hospitals in the UK like Alder Hey and become truly patient centred.

The signs throughout the hospital make sense and are illustrated with numerous outlines, drawings and cut outs of animals. 

There is forest to journey through. Cardboard trees give me the opportunity to comment.

A number of the corridors showed pictures of the many, many children who have posted pictures and thanks to the staff.

Every child's room can see out of a window (though people on the outside can't see in).

The consultation rooms and spaces are perfectly laid out to offer comfort and privacy 

There is a fabulous area where children and parents can lear to cook the foods needed for their diets.

A camera records the cook at the cooker and it is displayed on a seen for others to see and learn.

Everything is done to help children and their parents help comprehend and cope with the circumstances in which they find themselves.

Dolls, diagrams and soft toys explain, illuminate and help all of us understand. 

There is no doubting the knowledge and pursuit of excellence at Sant Joan de Deu. 

As part of our visit we witnessed the simulator suite, the use of technology and the briefing rooms. This is a modern, digitally aware community of practice that is striving to improve treatment and care. 

It clearly confident in its shoes - they may seem to be child sized yet they make such large steps that change the way we think about the hospital experience. 

There is a thorough understanding of the emotional and psychological needs of parents and children at times of that can be so traumatic and difficult. 

This is an enlightened management that doesn’t just listen to children and their families but thinks and acts upon what they have heard. Thank you!

And, talking on enlightened things - here is a short animation about Children’s Research from Nottingham University Trust Hospitals

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