Tuesday, 31 January 2017

L is for Link to health information



Searching for health information? 


Here's some tips and tools to evaluate your way through the information jungle and link to better information


Are you looking for health information for your child? Perhaps you are creating a service for children or young people or even finding information on how to involve them? Whatever the reason, finding reliable information is important. The internet can be a "jungle" and searching for online information is often time consuming and confusing. The information age and deluge of data, means it is becoming harder to separate facts from pseudo-facts. Knowledgeable consumers evaluate information to make good decisions for their health and quality counts.

Daintree rainforest, north east Queensland


Families and sharing information

As consumers and healthcare professionals partner in care, health information is shared. Families living with chronic illness, complex health conditions and rare diseases are often experts in their child's condition. Sharing helpful information and professional-consumer communication is the focus of our blog "K is for knowledge + patient".
 

Consumer health information in Australia

Australians search for free, reliable information at HealthDirect (supported by state and Federal governments). The focus is on safe, practical information, including an A-Z of health topics, medicines, symptom checker and service finder. Facts or fiction? has consumer tips on seeking trustworthy online information. Don't want to read... there’s a helpline to speak to a registered nurse, 24/7 and healthdirect app, which is also free. 


Two other resources with "user-friendly" health information are Health information and health products by BetterHealth channel and Raising Children Network.  At Raising Children Network find "My neighbourhood", parents/carers enter their postcode to link to local services and link to intercultural health information.


Evaluating health information - USA

Go to MedlinePlus, (the world’s largest medical library), or view a video tutorial (from USA National Library of Medicine) for more information. See also, Finding and evaluating online resources, 5 quick questions on social media resources (USA National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health).

Do you want to Trust it or Trash it? This quality assessment toolbox was created by Access To Credible Genetics (ATCG) Resource Network. There is also a developer toolbox for creating educational resources. MLA, the Medical Library Association, offers find good health information and top health websites.


Evaluating health information - United Nations and Europe

Health on the Net Foundation (HON), created the HON code, search, tools and topics for reliable information. The code provides a stamp of approval, good websites can approach HON to see if they are up to scratch. Now 20 years old, this NGO is accredited to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Look for the HON code on Australian websites too, Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy.

A useful website? European Commission has a quick checklist for useful websites, with pointers about whether a site is user focused.

Communication between families and health professionals

Access to reliable information should help families and healthcare professionals communicate and make decisions. The ability to ask questions about suggested treatments and procedures is important. Choose Wisely Australia, is an initiative from NPS MedicineWise. Look for 5 questions to ask your doctor.

Questioning quality of  information 

When searching for information, ask questions about information quality and avoid making assumptions. For example, an "expert" author may write about a topic they know well and also about other topics they know less about. Are we likely to rely on both equally, the topic the "expert" knows less about may not be as reliable.  Look beyond, politics, fashion etc. and at strengths and weaknesses of information.

The Knowledgeable patient: communication and participation in health. Edited by Sophie Hill available at AWCH library 613 HIL 1

Infographics

Infographics are now used more often because combining images together with health information can be very powerful. Complex health messages are shared more easily and quickly. Health information is communicated across cultures, age groups and literacy levels.

Organisations and government bodies create infographics, apps and digital technology to promote health information. Reliable information, based on children, young people and family needs, must under-pin any user-friendly format. How can children and young people be involved in creating something that makes sense to them? Investing in Children is one organisation that created films to celebrate their work on child rights and services based on the needs of children and young people.



Linking people + digital information

Whether searching via google scholar, government websites or databases (via libraries or health portals), journeying through the "information jungle" is challenging. Healthcare professionals and consumers link in the lookout for helpful information for healthier lives.

Health literacy
Health literacy refers to the ability individuals and communities have to engage with information and services. Visit the OpHeLia project, Deakin University, for information on health literacy.

Meaningful information is not just something we locate. Useful information is developed when individuals and community are involved and real needs are identified.

The Australian Digital Health Agency has conducted a survey to find out how Australians engage with digital services and access information to improve their health and wellbeing. The National Digital Health Strategy is underway. Emphasis is placed on families and individuals, with the slogan "Your health. Your say." 

Consumer Health Forum highlights the value of health literacy in their submission on the National Digital Health Strategy. People need to find, understand and use health-related information and services, to make good decisions about their health. Find out more in their "response to questions for healthcare consumers, carers and families", p 6.

Join the Australian digital health access conversation!



Jillian Rattray
AWCH librarian
Email: Jillian@awch.com.au
AWCH Library


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The Internet is like a puddle

Five Mile Press, Victoria, 2014
ISBN 9781760064167


For children aged 3-6 yrs








A cautionary tale

Don’t let the wide-eyed animals in “The internet is like a puddle” lull you into thinking all is calm. Expect a serious message. There are loads of fun things to do and games to play on the internet. Look out for a crocodile with plenty of teeth idling in the puddle but don’t be deceived. This book will help adults communicate a cautionary approach to internet time and start conversations with young children about safe internet play.

The internet can be a bit tricky

There’s lots of games and splashing fun to be had in a puddle, the water may appear to be shallow but can be deep and mirky underneath. In this picture book koala is absorbed stepping out with his mobile phone, rabbit and bear are on a lap top, ipad or ‘device’, mouse looks on holding a red polka-dot ball. The first inkling of difficulty comes when frog jumps head first into the pond, the internet can be “a bit tricky”. 

The first inkling of difficulty comes when frog jumps head first into the pond

Child-friendly story about online safety

Young children in many Australian families may not ask “what’s the internet?” Going online is just part of daily life. This little gem of a book is going to be helpful for adults wanting to create awareness about internet safety from a child’s perspective. 

Shona Innes, the author, uses words like “deep’, ‘stuck’, ‘trouble’ and ‘tricky’. Awareness is raised about safety and chatting to strangers, also health and wellbeing. Bears eyes droop from playing too long.

Feelings and reactions are explored, the internet is fun to play with and because of this it can be hard to say ‘no’. This validates feelings children may have if they are asked to say ‘no’ to the chance to dip into the ‘internet puddle’. It might seem unfair when ‘everyone else gets to play’.

Role of a parent or carer

Big bear holds Little bears paw at the edge of a pond. Duck is happily floating in the “puddle”. Then something doesn’t look right, a large crocodile with lots of teeth and a menacing smile waits in the pond with an inflatable purple floaty ring. The message is clear, a safe person needs to be there to make sure children don’t go in too deep and if this happens, they know what to do next. Notes for parents and teachers about technology use, setting limits and being internet safe are at the back of the book. Shona Innes, is a qualified clinical and forensic psychologist.

This book has engaging illustrations with thoughtful text and provides a wonderful means for communicating with children in a child-friendly way. It is one of several books from the Big hug series featuring expressive and warm animal illustrations and sharing emotional challenges.

Please get in touch if you would like to read The Internet is like a puddle, You are like you or Worries are like clouds. I purchased copies from The Children’s Bookshop they can also be purchased online. Recommended retail price is $14.95.

Crocodile, Freshwater Station, Cairns


More on internet, cyber or online safety?

World issues: Staying safe online is a recent book for primary students, with plenty of photos and accessible text.  Parents can link to Australian Government’s Office of the Children’s eSafety Commission, for guidance and strategies in the home, including managing technology. The publication A parent’s guide to online safety is available 5 languages. Life Education, visits schools to empower children and young people to make safer and healthier resources through education. Parents can find out about how to start conversations with their children.

Your feedback is valuable. Do you have any children’s 
resources that have helped explain internet safety?



Jillian Rattray
AWCH librarian
Email: Jillian@awch.com.au

November 2016

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

In memory of Dr Graham Bench



As I was finalising my talk for the ACCYPN conference last week I was reflecting on how far we have come in the care of children and young people in healthcare since AWCH was established in 1973.  I was thinking of the dedicated and motivated individuals who came together to establish AWCH and drive change in the psychosocial wellbeing of children and young people in healthcare, when I received the sad news of Dr Graham Bench’s death.

Graham was a well known and much loved paediatrician of over 50 years. His involvement with AWCH began in 1975 and he held various positions within the organisation over the past 40 years. Notably he was treasurer to Quentin Bryce’s Presidency and was made an Honorary Life member of AWCH and was appointed an AWCH Ambassador in 2010 in recognition of the incredible contribution he made to AWCH.  Graham wrote the original AWCH Constitution and took on the role of visiting speaker to various organisations and fundraising for AWCH. As recently as only a few months ago Graham was speaking about the work of AWCH at a local club.

Graham has been a significant part of so many of AWCH’s achievements and he sums this up nicely in his own words,


“……my greatest thoughts about the work of AWCH are how much the wards in children's hospitals have changed, how the whole attitude towards children in hospital has improved and thus lessened the psychological trauma that they suffer by being hospitalised and in particular our very wonderful establishment of the AWCH Ward Granny Scheme…..” 



Testimonial from Dr Graham Bench AWCH lifetime member and AWCH Ambassador on the 40th anniversary of AWCH.


On behalf of AWCH I would like to thank Graham for his tireless and outstanding contribution to improving the wellbeing of children and young people in healthcare across Australia for over 50 years – you will be remembered by so many with much affection and admiration.



A/Prof Alison Hutton
AWCH President

AWCH office email:  awch@awch.com.au
AWCH office phone: 02 9817 2439

October 2016

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

M – is for Moment of panic and Mum’s sleeping on the floor

Moment of panic

A brown blob appeared momentarily in my peripheral vision and disappeared, I stopped. Continuing on, the motion of my swinging hair caused the reappearance of the brown blob. Standing still, I sensed a slight weight, something was there… and it was starting to move.

A moment of panic ensued and with a hasty flick, the small huntsman spider dropped to the floor, scuttling across tiles, sinking low into a groove, not daring to move. This young Huntsman with brown translucent legs, had been taken from familiar surroundings and catapulted into a strange environment – my bathroom. 


Mum’s sleeping on the floor

This reminded me of a different kind of fear, not of spiders but of fear and children in hospital. I’d just read an article written in 1982 about one parent’s experience* with her seven-year old in hospital. Her sick boy, Sam, was in a ward with other children also taken to hospital in an emergency. If I were to give her article a title I might call it, “Why I chose to camp on the hospital floor”.

Not long ago the expectation was that parents didn’t stay with their children in hospital and visiting hours were restricted (a paediatric nurse at a Sydney children's hospital recalls many tears as visiting time on Sunday afternoons finished). The impact on many children, especially young children was large. Following AWCH's recommendations, Australian hospitals began promoting family centered policies, parents were encouraged to stay. 

This parent’s experience is worth reading because she challenged expectations in a leading children’s hospital, her story was firstly published in the Age newspaper, then AWCH magazine, Interface*.

Fear and separation

The mum, Janet, gave a moving account of five nights with her son in hospital. She knew staying would be best. This was reinforced when on the first night, another child awoke screaming, a nurse rushed in and this panicked child grabbed her crying “Mummy come quick”. 

The child in a bed nearby had been taken from home, was sick and separated from his family. Hospital was a strange and frightening place. He had an intravenous drip and splint attached to his arm. Later, a two year old was screaming and inconsolable, her mother had gone home. The nurse had given sedation to stop crying. 

Poster was one of six from AWCH (SA)  issued by NAWCH, London, 1978

To go home or stay on the floor?

Sam’s mum, it had been suggested, should go home because her son was old enough that “he should be able to cope”. With an upright chair to sleep in, Janet stayed. At 3 am another nurse approached her with a strip of foam rubber and a towel, she “hit the floor with relief”. The next night she had a sleeping bag from home. Janet experienced some odd looks from hospital staff but she was pretty much ignored. This mum was courageous, doing what she thought was best for her child despite hospital protocol.

At home, Janet revisited scenes of children screaming for their parents. Her greatest affirmation came from Sam. Hugging her close, in a whispering voice he said: “thanks for staying with me in hospital mum”.

“thanks for staying with me in hospital mum”




AWCH helps children

AWCH “pioneers” were also courageous, working hard to change care for children and young people in hospital. They were part of a social movement, linking with international sister organisations. AWCH’s first benchmark policy, A recommended health care policy relating to children and their families, was published in Medical Journal of Australia, 1974. Your Child in Hospital (pamphlet),.a Joint effort of Division of Health Education and AWCH, was significant as the first Australian education of parents about sick children and hospital. Written between the lines was a reminder to health professionals of their role in caring for children. With great interest, ¼ million pamphlets were printed.

AWCH continues to produce policies, work with key stakeholders (CT scans - information for parents and carers), guide the provision and advocate for rights of children and young people in healthcare. 


AWCH Ward Grandparent scheme supports children and parents or carers in hospital. Volunteer grannies, recognise it isn't possible for parents or carers to always stay with their child. 


Your comments and impressions are welcome and can be added below.





Jillian Rattray
AWCH Librarian
http://library.awch.org.au

October 2016



Thursday, 22 September 2016

Who's got a normal family?

By Belinda Nowell and illustrated by Miša Alexander
Little Steps Publishing, Glebe 2016.  ISBN 9781925117752.


“I read the book three times… it makes people feel okay about the type of family they have”, said one primary school reader


Who’s got a normal family?
‘Who’s got a normal family?’ a delegate at the recent ACWA* conference read out loud.  “Well whose family is normal?” she asked, laughing. It’s not hard to see why this recent Australian book caught the interest of many who came by our ACWA resource booth.

With two hats on, one friendly delegate working with children in out-of-home care, had also recently become a foster parent. She said how helpful this book would be for a sibling adjusting to a new family member.

Welcome to a new foster child
The story is about Alex, an easy going boy. It is news time at school, Alex is greeted with classroom cheers when he tells the children his new baby foster sister has arrived. That is all except one boy, Jimmy Martin, who has a “stomp in his step and upside-down smile”. He yells “babies are boring” and “she’s not your real sister”.

Alex is sad and asks his mum about “normal families” when he gets home from school. She pulls out his class photo and they talk about the families at school. Alex’s mum is a supportive adult presence who helps sort through Alex’s difficult emotions.

Different but unique 
This picture book entices readers with its character-filled illustrations. Each school child is introduced with their family. Alex is a foster child, Alir came to Australia for safety with his large family, Eva has a daddy but not a mummy, Henry has two dads, etc. With an upbeat tone, Alex chats about what makes each child and family unique. There’s a sense of fun and acceptance which makes this book enjoyable to read.

Something to share
Alex finds a way, with the help of his mum, to connect with Jimmy. He realises Jimmy is sad because his daddy doesn’t live with him anymore. Alex shares what he has just learned about “normal families” with Jimmy, as well as showing him his hidden blue-tongue lizard family and all ends well.
Who might like this book?

Families with infant school children, the book is aimed at children 5-7 years. Younger children and older independent readers may also find this book engaging and helpful.

More resources
  • Dhiiyaan is a beautiful reading App written and illustrated by Elaine Russell, for grandparent kinship carers to share with their kids.
  • Healthcare professionals may want to look at Out of homecare and healthcare pathways, by NSW Health.

You are like you and The Internet is like a puddle A Big Hug Book Series, recent Australian resources displayed at our ACWA* conference booth.

Have you found a children’s resource promoting child wellbeing to recommend? If so, please let us know.

 * Association of Children's Welfare Agencies (ACWA) is the NSW non-government peak body representing the voice of community organisations working with vulnerable children, young people and their families.


Jillian Rattray
AWCH librarian
September 2016