Words Fly Away I Activating parents and paediatricians for an effective consultation
Parents of children with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) can wait up to several months for a first appointment with a paediatrician within the Irish public health system. Effective management of RA relies on symptom and treatment management in the context of everyday family life. Parents are often anxious and ill-equipped to deal with this responsibility, as much as they want to try and do so.
Working with a leading children´s hospital in Dublin, Ireland the needs of staff and parents was understood around the rheumatology consultation experience. A toolkit was co-designed to educate and activate parents and facilitate specialists in consultation with the goal of creating a more effective and engaging consultation experience.
Parents´ have a limited understanding of their child´s chronic RA condition and what they can do to help, whilst their anxieties usually run high. As a result, consultations are a pressure point and are not as effective in communication as they should be, for both families and the clinical care team.
Paediatricians have limited time to spend in consultations per patient due to high workload and long waiting lists in the public health system. Parents do not bring in or take away the most essential information during a consultation; they struggle to manage well their child´s condition between visits. This can result in more calls to the hospital for help, visits to emergency units and potentially poorer treatment outcomes for children in the longer term.
Words Fly Away is an insights-based communication campaign designed to activate parents to participate and collaborate with professionals to better care for their child with RA. It consists of in-hospital posters and simple, paper-based consultation tools that facilitate a better conversation with staff and paediatricians before, during and after a consultation or check up.