New tool enables ‘Better Conversations’ between young people, clinicians and carers

Sara Hamilton with young patient experts at the launch
Better Conversations, a new tool produced by TalkLab, has just been launched at Whittington Health.

The aim of the tool, which consists of a website and supporting printed materials, is to improve communication between young people, clinicians and carers during medical consultations.

Sara Hamilton, paediatric consultant, said: “This project has been about frontline colleagues working in partnership with the young people who use our services and their parents in a true partnership. Working together on Better Conversations has demonstrated the resourcefulness and magic in the NHS and the families we serve.”

Crucially, Better Conversations has been designed by the people who will use it. TalkLab brought together young ‘patient experts’, their parents, doctors and nurses to talk about the conversations they have together.

They learned that if doctors and nurses communicate a few simple things at the beginning, middle and end of the consultation, everyone gets a lot more out of the conversation. They recommend that clinicians should always:
  • Explain the consultation process
  • Relate the diagnosis to symptoms the young person is experiencing
  • Involve the young person in planning ‘what happens next’

Charlotte, one of the young people involved in the project, said: “Getting to know the doctors on this level was a privilege. I feel I actually made a change.”

Tofie, another young patient expert, added: “I feel this will have a major impact on the healthcare we will receive in the future.”

Access to TalkLab’s Better Conversations is free and is available to young people, parents, carers and healthcare professionals courtesy of NHS London and the London Deanery.

29 January 2015

Last updated29 Jan 2015
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