We are glad to share with you the translated version of our latest press release originally in Latvian.

Please note that the following content has been automatically translated to English.

Nearly 80% of Patients Acknowledge: Children’s Hospital Always Inquired About Pain and Provided Assistance

Representing Latvia in the “VoiCEs” project, the Children’s Hospital, along with four European children’s hospitals, introduced a special survey for young patients almost a year ago. They also joined a shared data analysis platform to gain feedback on children’s hospital experiences and make improvements. The first results have been summarized: almost 80% of children acknowledged that the hospital always asked them about pain and assisted in alleviating it; similar data were reported regarding reducing anxiety.

Approaching the conclusion of the “VoiCEs” project, the Children’s Hospital has begun analyzing surveys filled out by children over the past nine months. The results of the surveys conducted in all participating hospitals will be presented at an international conference in Florence in September, with the aim of promoting a more positive experience for children and adolescents in healthcare institutions.

“We are pleased that 97% of children who responded to the survey gave our staff the highest rating for their attitude. When considering the patient’s experience in the hospital, we pay close attention to alleviating pain, fear, and anxiety. Therefore, we highly value the fact that almost 80% of children acknowledged that they were always asked about pain in the hospital and were assisted in alleviating it,” says Valts Ābols, Chairman of the Children’s Hospital Board.

By November 2022, the Children’s Hospital had only sought the opinions of parents and children aged 14 and older regarding their time spent in the hospital. “Since we started surveying younger patients as well, we have received confirmation of how differently children of different ages perceive their experiences in the hospital. This has allowed us to make targeted improvements in communication with children in specific age groups. For example, children aged three to seven years showed the highest anxiety about hospital treatment, so we are implementing improvements in fear and anxiety reduction processes specifically for this age group, and we are also trying to assist parents of children up to three years old more,” says Austra Straume, Head of the Patient Experience Department at the Children’s Hospital.

To alleviate the anxiety of children aged three to seven, the Children’s Hospital has Pediatric Play Specialists available, who prepare them for upcoming procedures in a playful way. Educators visit patients on the wards every day to engage creatively with children. The hospital environment is designed to be as close as possible to a safe home environment for children. Screens showing animated movies are placed in procedure rooms, with the support of donors ensuring that Courage Boxes always contain toys, which are also excellent aids in reducing fear and pain. Clinical psychologists are available at the Children’s Hospital to provide emotional support to parents. Materials on various examinations and procedures are available on the children’s hospital portal veselapasule.lv.

“The more we know about what will happen and how, the less we fear it. The less we fear, the higher the pain threshold becomes. Almost 75% responded that the staff were interested in their anxiety and helped them cope with it. A larger percentage even acknowledged that the staff always asked about pain and assisted in alleviating it,” continues Austra Straume.

Analyzing the completed surveys, it is evident that in other age groups, except for children aged eight to thirteen, more than 70% of patients always felt involved in decisions about their treatment course. Meanwhile, 50% of children aged eight to thirteen felt only partially involved in decision-making. These data indicate that employees of the Children’s Hospital need to communicate more with children in this age group, explaining why they are in the hospital, what will be done, and how they will feel during procedures. Adequate information in an understandable language for each age is crucial not only for joint decision-making about treatment but also for reducing fear and pain.

Quality healthcare, taking into account the child’s perspective, as well as equality and non-discrimination, is one of the seven directions of children’s patient rights standards set by the World Health Organization. At the same time, Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates that children and adolescents must be heard in all matters affecting them. The target group of the “VoiCEs” project’s new survey is children aged 0 to 17 years, and the survey is adapted for different ages. For children who cannot read yet, a parent fills out the survey, while older children and adolescents can do it themselves. The survey is conducted after the patient is discharged from the hospital.

The project is implemented with the support of the European Commission.

More about the project: https://voicesproject.eu/

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The VoiCEs Project is co-funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020) (REC-RCHI-PROF-AG-2020

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