More Say For Kids In Hospital

There is some good news regarding the rights of kids in hospitals.  

I just found this on the ABC News website. I will copy the quote because I am not sure how long a direct link will work for.

Children to get greater say in hospital care

Children will soon have a greater say in the healthcare they receive in Australian hospitals. 

Australia’s major children’s hospitals have today recognised the charter of children’s rights in healthcare.The document states that children and adolescents should have access to information about their health in a form they can understand. Human Rights Commissioner, Catherine Branson, says the charter stresses decisions must be made in the best interest of the child.

“It’s actually quite challenging for many of us, the need to consult the child, to hear and respect the views of the child,” she said. “It’s so easy to overlook the right of the child to be heard and go directly to the parent.”
ABC News Website, Wednesday November 10, 2010

My husband helped me to understand that our job was to help our my daughter make informed decisions. He was right in understanding that as she had little control over her medical condition it was critical that she was in charge of choices regarding treatments.

Respecting your child’s right to choose can be incredibly difficult and stressful at times. As a worried parent the temptation to take control can be powerful.

The benefit of implementing our practice of letting our daughter choose became clear after she attended her first arthritis camp.

She told us later a number of kids would pretend to take medicatons and later throw them away. She was genuinely bewildered about why this would be.

It proved to me that if kids feel treatments are forced on them by parents and medicos they will feel resentful and not comply whenever they can.

It also means that they are less likely to take responsibility for other factors that influence health outcomes like exercise and healthy diet.

So yes I think this is an important positive step. It also will be very challenging to implement within the hierarchy of hospital systems which are by their nature pretty disempowering.

But hey it is wonderful to see this baby step in the right direction.

Oh and by the way – helping our daughter make informed decisions, learning to respect her choices, supporting her growing ability to take responsiblity for her health – these are all works in progress. There are good days and messy days.

As a parent you aren’t going to get the balance right every time. The important thing is to keep chipping away at the process and be kind to yourself.