The Patient Information Forum (PIF) has published an update to its guide to Producing Health Information for Children and Young People.
The 2023 update aims to help anyone creating health information for children and young people improve what they do.
Part funded by NHS England, and developed in collaboration with industry experts, it places health inequality and the need to engage children and young people of all backgrounds at its centre.
PIF Director Sophie Randall said: “The latest update to PIF’s most popular guide puts tackling inequality and involving children and young people at its centre.
"It is packed with practical advice and inspiring case studies covering a wide range of health issues and information formats.
"It is essential reading for anyone planning health information for children and young people.
"It is vitally important that credible, engaging health information for young people is easily recognisable in the sea of misinformation.
"We’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the guide.”
Practical advice on producing health information
The 2023 guide update focuses on the practical aspects of creating good health information.
Core topics include involving children and young people, choosing the right format, writing for children, and tackling sensitive issues.
Case studies provide both practical tips and inspiration.
Experts from child psychiatry, leading children’s health charities, Barts Health NHS Trust and Edge Hill University contributed to the guide.
Kath Evans, Director of Children's Nursing/Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “Ensuring children and young people are involved in their healthcare ultimately improves not only their clinical outcomes but their day-to-day lives.
"When healthcare information connects directly with those using it, it has the greatest impact.
"Children and young people need to see themselves in the information being provided.
"Whether it’s seeing pictures of children that look like them or narratives that are reflective of their circumstances, it all matters.
“The latest Producing Health Information for Children and Young People guide by PIF strengthens the focus on confronting health inequalities and encourages us all to go further in co-producing information with children and young people from a range of backgrounds who have diverse life experiences.”
Digital and mental health needs
The guide covers the use of stories and play, social media and apps, and how and when to give information.
It provides guidance on digital, mental health needs and working with children who are traumatised or at risk of violence.
Lucy Bray, Professor of Child Health Literacy, Edge Hill University, said: “We need to do more to develop children's health literacy.
"Children and young people need these fundamental skills to access and understand credible and meaningful information and use that information to make choices about their health.
"Health literacy is an empowerment tool, equipping children and young people with life-long skills which need to be fostered within health literate systems, organisations and policy."
Download the full Producing Health Information for Children and Young People guide here.