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Community connection and trust key to supporting young people

Panel discusses best practice support for young people at the Patient and Family Experience Symposium.

Group of people sitting on stage talking
SydneyConnect Image: Youth transitional care panel

Giving young people access to services and tools to help them make informed decisions about their healthcare are central to supporting their health.

“We’re here to support you, not tell you what to do. But we have a vested interest in your health and want you to thrive,” Nicole Liaroustos, a Cystic Fibrosis Clinical Nurse Consultant told this week’s youth-themed Patient and Family Experience Symposium.

Our District colleagues, patients and representatives from local community organisations gathered to discuss how to support the health and welfare of young people.

“For many, actually being unwell takes a lot of energy, concentration and time. We have to be mindful that they are at their most vulnerable,” Harry Iles-Mann, a Sydney Education Lived Experience Educator told the audience.

Harry joined an expert panel on the issues surrounding youth transition of care from paediatric to adult services to close the symposium.

Nicole said providing longer appointments are just one of the ways she and her team were supporting and enabling young peoples as leaders in their healthcare.

“Respect is both ways,” she said.

“We are so open and relaxed and non-judgemental. They will open up, and we do not judge them, that’s the tone we set from the beginning.”

Building trusting relationships with young patients and providing care on a case-by-case basis is important to meeting their unique needs, the panel agreed, particularly when they experience health system fatigue.

“It’s recognising there is not a stock standard template, and that that some people have more capacity to connect with communities around us,” Harry said.

“It’s about how well we connect to the community, not just the care itself.”

Deanna Darwall, Network Manager, Youth and Transition, at the Children’s Hospital Westmead, acknowledged there is much work to do through connecting youth to more services.

“Something we’re working hard on is marking sure patients and families are not just reliant on our services in the [health] network,” she said.

“We hope that in working with teams and identifying supports such as youth councils or social interactions, whatever it might be. We start to build on those supports earlier.”

Agency for Clinical Innovation Transition Care Network Manager, Rachael Havrlant, also pointed out that while there is already work happening in different fields and facilities, at a state-wide level, there is still a lot of work to be done.

“We are looking at what we can be doing that can be adapted to whatever works best for your service and the resources you have available to you, she said.

A positive outlook concluded the panel.

“There is much work to be done but it’s a really exciting time to be working in transition and young people – there are so many opportunities,” Deanna said.

The Patient and Family Experience Symposium gives patients, specialists and people with lived experience a platform to share their stories and insights with healthcare professionals and District leaders as part of Sydney Innovation Week.