Adolescent Ward at Royal Darwin Hospital
NT Youth Round Table
Northern Territory. Department of the Chief Minister. Office of Youth Affairs
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Chief Minister's Round Table of Young Territorians; Youth Services; Youth; Periodicals
Northern Territory Government
NT Youth Round Table newsletter
Newsletter 20 November 2014
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Northern Territory Government
2 | P a g e the school year. Having technology on the ward can also help the young persons wellbeing, as communication can be a large part of a young persons life with most outlets for entertainment being either online through social media, or through telecommunications. Through social media patients are able to keep in contact with friends and family who may not be able to visit them as they live out of Darwin in remote areas or they cannot make it to the hospital within the standard visiting hours. This topic was chosen because, from personal experience, hospitals can be an intimidating place. The aim of this project was not just to benefit young people with chronic illnesses or disabilities but to benefit any young person that is admitted into hospital in the NT. Hospitals can be frightening and overwhelming to anyone, especially for young people who have not experienced such environments before and who are already in state of compromised health. DISCUSSION Interviews and surveys were undertaken as part of this project and identified that medical jargon, sterile and strange environments can cause a patient to feel isolated (refer to Attachment A). It was also identified that these pressures can cause young people in hospital to become stressed, which can worsen the condition that they are already in and make it harder for medical staff to help. Across the country there are many different models of adolescent care. Many of the major hospitals have separate wards for adolescents where young people are treated in age appropriate environments, surrounded by medical staff that specialises in youth care. This project initially sought to determine whether there is a current need for an adolescent ward in the RDH. A survey targeted at adolescents was developed and subsequently shared on social media and in hard copy format through health care services such as headspace (a nonfor-profit youth mental health organisation). Targeted interviews were also conducted with identified stakeholders. A total of 73 surveys were completed with the overall response indicating that young people feel an adolescent ward should be established at the RDH. The findings of the survey will be discussed further in this briefing and all results can be found at Attachment A. With the need for a customised approach to age-specific health care to be established, this projects focus shifted to determining what resources were required and establishing a process for their implementation. Within this years budget, $11.9 million was designated by the Commonwealth to move and refurbish the wards within the hospital so that they are all on the same level. The refurbishment was to include a culturally appropriate facility with shower and toilet amenities, a lounge as well as a respite room that will all hope to improve experiences for parents3. The short term goal hoped to be achieved by this project is to create an area within the hospital dedicated to adolescents, a common room of sorts. The idea is to create a space where young people from across the wards are able to come away from the machines and sterile rooms to relax and interact with other people the same age. The long term goal of this project is to develop an 3 Northern Territory Government, 2014
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