Empowering parents in their child’s care

My project started with a view to reducing attendance and encouraging parents/patients to self-manage common medical issues. I started by looking at practice data of ‘frequent attenders’ and talking to them about what they worry about/why they attend. From there it seemed that they would like resources that could help them – most were unaware of NHS Choices and signposting to this was a real help to them.

From there I thought about how to deliver teaching to parents about their child’s health. I talked with others trying to do similar things (e.g. Healthy London Partnership) and trying group consultations. I then tried to encourage parental involvement and arranged to meet with parents at the local children’s centre. I surveyed them on what they would like to be taught on and how it should be delivered.

There feedback guided my topics, but also indicated they may prefer online resources (plus a children’s centre is quite a chaotic learning environment!). With this information I partnered up with another PICH colleague and recorded some educational videos on eczema and development which will form part of an online portal for the RSM.

By doing this I hope to empower parents to learn about their children’s health and manage their conditions with less medical input. This will hopefully improve their experiences with healthcare as well as reducing attendances.

Top Tips to Share

  • Use your mentor – you will be surprised how many people they know who can be of help to you
  • People are very generous with their experiences – talk to people who have done similar things and meet them for a coffee – even if it doesn’t end up being a project it will give you some good advice Talk to patients and their parents – they will give you frank and honest opinions
  • Talk to other PICH participants – working together can lighten the workload
  • PHE fingertips tool is a good starting point if you’re struggling for inspiration

If I could do it all again…

  • Start early – it may seem like training is all-encompassing, but a phone call/email for 5 minutes can open up opportunities
  • Talk to others at PICH events – feedback from the faculty and colleagues can stop you going down a blind alley and help stimulate ideas
  • Don’t be disheartened if you can’t think of anything or early ideas fail