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Press Release

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Title
Children’s Hospital launches new webpages to help children and young people with autism
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Press release date11/06/2019
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Summary
A hospital can be difficult for a lot of children and young people, but knowing what is happening and why before a visit can ease anxiety and reduce the unexpected. This can be especially helpful for people with autism.

Children and young people with autism who are visiting Leicester Children’s Hospital, and their parents and carers, are invited to visit our new pages with helpful information and tools to make visits to hospital easier.
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Press release

The new section on Leicester’s Hospitals’ main website provides tools and resources for children, young people, families and carers to use. This includes: a ‘patient passport’ for people to fill in with important information about themselves (such as communication needs) and bring to hospital, and preparation guides to help prepare for surgery, a clinic appointment, or certain procedures (like blood tests and anaesthetics). Step-by-step guides, social stories and photo books help people know what a trip to hospital is like so they can prepare in ways that suit them. 


Liz James, matron on the children’s surgical wards at University Hospitals of Leicester, said: “I am very proud of the progress we have made as a team to improve the experience of children and young people with autism who use our services. The webpages mean families can access more information and resources to help them prepare for treatments they need”.


The website has been co-designed with parents and based on feedback from Listening into Action events with staff and parents, and from local community events and parent support groups. This helped the team make sure the website meets the needs of people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. 


Dipak Vadera, the parent of a young adult with autism, has been working with staff on the website. He says: ‘The website is good progress for children and young people with autism at Leicester Children’s Hospital. The Listening into Action events have been very effective, providing good forums for parent and carer input, and leading to positive results such as the website. There are lots resources for people to access”.


As well as preparation and communication tools, there is a clear need for the Children’s Hospital to let people know what is on offer for patients with autism and their parents and carers, and the standards of care that they should expect to receive. The Autism Standards page is particularly useful to let people know the care that Leicester Children’s Hospital provides. 


Liz James continued: “We are able to make adjustments to suit individual patients so they have the best experience possible and it’s really important that families know what can be done to help them”.


Kevin Pakenham, learning and development co-ordinator at Autism East Midlands, said: “Autism East Midlands are delighted to endorse the autism webpages of the Leicester Hospitals website. A great deal of thought, care and attention has gone into the production of the site to ensure that autistic visitors to the hospital can overcome insecurities they may have prior to their procedures. The webpages are an excellent accommodation for autistic patients and their families. The Leicester hospitals trust have produced a user friendly guide which is excellent autism practice and will assist autistic patients greatly by reducing anxiety levels prior to their appointment at the hospital.”


The team who designed the website wanted to make sure of two things: one, useful and detailed information is easily accessible to prepare children and young people for a trip to hospital, and two, the information available lets patients, families and carers know what support and services are available to them. An easy-read format has been used so the pages and information is usable for children and young people of different ages and abilities. 


For more information, Leicester Children’s Hospital encourage you to visit http://www.leicestershospitals.nhs.uk/childrens-autism or search online for “children and young people with autism Leicester children's hospital” 

Contact information:
Contact information
For all hospital enquiries, including additional quotes, images, and interviews, please contact:

Jake Toon
Communications Officer at University Hospitals of Leicester
jake.toon@uhl-tr.nhs.uk
0116 258 8715
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Press release number
6830
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