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Children and young people

In the news

Key issues and topics of interest to nurses working with infants, children and young people 

Potential hazards in the home during self-isolation

With infants and young children spending more time indoors it is important that we all remind parents of potential hazards in the home, including hazards such as blind cords. There have been one or two deaths recently of young infants/children getting tied up in blind cords. Info can be found at CAPT and NHS advice for new parents

Effective (Deep) suctioning and appropriate delegation

The Royal College of Nursing has received enquiries following the publication of ‘Meeting health needs in educational and other community settings. A guide for nurses caring for children and young people’, specifically in respect of the delegation of suctioning tasks.

Clinical advice and guidance regarding ‘Effective (Deep) suctioning’ and appropriate delegation should be principally sought from the following:

iHV launches ‘Health Visiting in England: A Vision for the Future’ 

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) has published ‘Health Visiting in England: A Vision for the Future’, their evidence-based blue print to rebuild health visiting services. Developed in response to the government’s request for stakeholder engagement to inform their plans to refresh the health visiting model for England and the Healthy Child Programme, and taking into account the worrying loss of health visitors over the past 4 years, this publication sets out a new model of health visiting advising eight universal contacts and a particular focus on fifteen areas where health visiting can have a high impact on health outcomes.

See: Health Visiting in England: A Vision for the Future

HPV universal immunisation programme

Public Health England have advised that the routine HPV universal immunisation programme will be offered to boys, in addition to girls, as part of the routine school aged schedule in England from 1 September 2019. This follows the government’s announcement in July 2018 to include HPV vaccination of boys, which was based on the advice of the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

See: HPV universal immunisation programme

The mental health needs of young people with learning disabilities are overlooked despite an increased risk - new report

Children and young people with learning disabilities are much more likely to develop mental health problems yet their needs are too often overlooked warns a new report by the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition.

Overshadowed finds that children and young people with learning disabilities are more than four times more likely to develop a mental health problem than average. This means that 14% or one in seven of all children and young people with mental health difficulties in the UK will also have a learning disability.

See: Overshadowed. The mental health needs of children and young people with learning disabilities 

Disabled children

The Disabled Children’s Partnership has identified a £434 million funding gap for social care support for disabled children and their families. The survey of 3,400 parents found:

  • only 4% of parents say they receive the right support to care for their disabled children safely
  • 53% of parents have been forced to give up a paid job to care for their disabled child
  • more than a third (37%) of parent carers say their disabled child has missed school or college because the staff or services are not available to support them
  • a third (33%) of parents/ carers say their disabled child has been in unnecessary extra pain because the right equipment, doctor or health service hasn’t been available.

See: Give it back - a film clip produced by the Disabled Children’s Partnership.

Blended diet

The number of children and young people receiving liquidised food via a gastrostomy is on the increase. The general position statement from the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPHGAN) is that this is not recommended due to lack of published research to support its use.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) has recently produced a policy statement which states ‘The dietitian is the expert in enteral tube-feeding and should lead multi-professional discussions in relation to blended diet, in the best interests of the individual under their care. Dietitians can suggest blended diet as an option where they believe there to be potential physiological, social or emotional benefits to the tube-fed individual and their family’.
The BDA is currently updating a practice tool kit to help enable UK based clinicians to support their patients and provide practical recommendations on the use of liquidised foods via gastrostomy tubes. This will help to reduce variation in clinical practice nationwide and improve clinical effectiveness, minimise risks, improve patient outcomes and make recommendations for further research.
Blended diets for children and young people via a gastrostomy tube are a new and developing area of practice and as such organisations providing care to this groups of people need to undertake a robust risk assessment, have a clear agreed policy in place approved by clinical governance team/Director of Nursing and for staff to be appropriately trained in any new technique so that they have the required knowledge, skills and competence.    

Page last updated - 18/02/2022