Providing for children's particular needs
Children and young people suffer disease processes and responses to illness, injury and disability that are fundamentally different from those of adults. They also have unique characteristics of development and growth. Together these factors may make them susceptible to physiological and / or psychological harm, which may be long-lasting or even permanent. Their particular needs must be provided for during every phase of health care and disability support.
The health of children and young people determines their health as adults
The aim of health and disability services for children and young people is to promote health and treat illness. The goal is to enable as many children and young people as possible to enter adulthood with their potential for health and wellbeing uncompromised. Increasingly it is recognised that the health and wellbeing of children and young people significantly influences their health as adults.
Principles: what health and disability services should provide for your child or young person
The following principles recognise the particular needs of children and young people receiving health and disability support services. The principles describe what should be provided when your child or young person receives those services. They are based on expert opinion and a considerable body of literature in New Zealand and overseas and they have been developed after wide consultation.
When children and young people receive health or disability services, their needs should be the primary concern of the health provider. (More ...)
Children and young people should be treated as thinking, feeling people who are members of a family and who have physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Health professionals should consider all these needs, not just the health problem the child or young person has that day. (More ...)
Children are part of a family and are dependent on parents or primary caregivers for physical and emotional care and support. Families are a critical part of support and care for children. (More ...)
Health and disability service providers should respect and be responsive to Māori and their cultural values and beliefs. (More ...)
Health care and disability support services should provide culturally safe services to all children, young people and their families. (More ...)
As much health care and disability support as possible should be provided in the home and community. When children and young people are admitted to hospital, this should be as close to home as possible within the bounds of quality and safety. (More ...)
Children and young people of all ages should have information provided in a manner appropriate to their maturity, understanding and culture, including participation in decisions that affect them, active involvement in their care and giving consent if competent. (More ...)
Families need to be fully informed about their child's or young person’s condition so that they can participate in all aspects of their child's or young person’s care and support. (More ...)
Children and young people should be protected from physical and emotional pain, trauma and distress. (More ...)
Accommodation, facilities and equipment should meet the needs of children and young people. Facilities and equipment should be designed, provided and maintained to ensure children and young people’s safety and emotional wellbeing. Accommodation for children and young people should be separate from that provided for adults. (More ...)
Health and disability service providers whose knowledge and skills enable them to respond appropriately to children and young people’s clinical, emotional, developmental, educational and cultural needs, should care for children, young people and their families. (More ...)
Every child and young person receiving health care or disability support services should have access to, and opportunities to participate in play, recreation, creative activities and education. (More ...)
Health care and disability support providers should have systems to provide continuity and co-ordination between and within the various services working with children, young people and their families. (More ...)
Health care and disability support providers of Well Child, chronic care or disability support services for children and young people should ensure that long-term support systems are created which are centred on the individual. (More ...)
Where to go for more information
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified by the New Zealand Government in 1993. Its Articles include children and young people in health and disability services. The whole convention applies and the following have particular relevance:
- Article 3.3
- Article 9
- Article 31
Action for Sick Children. 1996. Health services for children and young people: A guide for commissioners and providers. London: Action for Sick Children.
Association for the Welfare of Child Health. 1999. Healthcare policy relating to children and their families.
Children’s Health Liaison Group. 1990. Charter for children in hospital.
Children’s Health Liaison Group. 1993. Principles of healthcare for children and young people.
Department of Health. 1994. 3rd Impression. Welfare of children and young people in hospital. London: HMSO.
Health Funding Authority. 1998. Through the eyes of a child: A review of paediatric specialty services.
Hogg, S. 1990. Quality management for children: Play in hospital. London: Play in Hospital Liaison Committee.
Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa / New Zealand. Draft 2000. Audit tool for programme and self review.
Ministry of Health and the Paediatric Society of New Zealand. 2004. Health and disability sector standards (children and young people): Audit workbook. SNZ HB 8134.4:2004.
Paediatric Society of New Zealand. 2002. Key principles for the proposed standards for the wellbeing of children and adolescents receiving healthcare. (These principles were developed by the Paediatric Society of New Zealand (in conjunction with 64 organizations), modified and endorsed by the child health sector through extensive consultation. These are not Standards under the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act 2001; rather they are developed under article 3.3 of the the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child).
© Paediatric Society of New Zealand and Starship Foundation 2005 – 2015
Printed on 28 March 2015. Content is regularly updated so please refer to www.kidshealth.org.nz for the most up-to-date version