ESPCF visited the MRI department at Eastbourne District General Hospital on 1st March to talk about how appointments and scans could be improved for people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), particularly children and young people.
The main aspects of feedback were around the importance of communication and preparation. It was great to hear some positive examples of the team at Eastbourne being really responsive, friendly and helpful. They were also keen to hear about where there might be room for improvement. Here are some of the suggestions:
- We don’t always know what we can ask for, might forget to ask a question, or wish we’d remembered to say a particular point at the time. So it would be helpful for staff to have a check-list of questions or comments to run through with families before the appointment. This could include the best way to communicate with the child/young person, and for any staff involved with the appointment to be aware of these.
- Prompts and ideas would be helpful, such as bringing your child in their pyjamas if that’s more comfortable for them (these are often ideal because they are unlikely to have any metal parts which can sometimes be an issue).
- The existing paediatric MRI patient information leaflet was helpful, but it was agreed that it would be great to work with parent carers and young people to put something together more appropriate for older children.
- The inclusion of more location-specific information would help families a lot. For example, photos and/or videos of the hospital, the corridors, reception, waiting area, as well as the actual MRI machine and equipment, in order to create a social story walkthrough that families can use.
Importantly, much of the feedback could also apply to other departments, so we will be having a think about how we might be able to take things forward more broadly across different departments/hospitals.
Thank you to everyone who sent in questions, feedback and suggestions in advance or on the day. And thank you to Nicola and Jiby from InHealth for inviting us along.
Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments, or if you would like to get more involved.