Charity calls for more play resources for children in hospital

A report from charity Starlight explores how play can help reduce the trauma many children experience from treatment and medical procedures. 

Play in Hospital 2023 says more than half of children fear visiting the doctor or a hospital.

1 in 10 adults say their childhood experiences of healthcare have negatively impacted their mental health.

Despite this, information from 140 NHS trusts and health boards in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland reveals ‘woeful’ gaps in play provision.

Less than 2 in 10 trusts and health boards have policies and procedures for play and 7 in 10 settings have no budget for play resources.

Benefits of play in healthcare include:

  • Reduced anxiety and fear
  • Better engagement with treatment
  • An increased sense of control
  • Increased trust in healthcare professionals

The report was launched to mark Play in Hospital Week which runs until 15 October.

Find out more about the week and download the report from the Starlight website here.

Study: Speech and language therapy lacks clear health literacy guidance

A scoping review looking at health literacy techniques used by speech and language therapists (SLTs) has called for further research.

The review highlights a lack of clear guidance on the subject for healthcare professionals.

It says more research is needed to identify and help disseminate reliable and effective techniques.

The authors note health literacy barriers are a particular challenge for most people needing care from SLTs.

The full study is available via the Wiley Online Library here.

Inequalities in mental health care for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities

A new report calls for action over a lack of mental health care for Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities.

The report was commissioned by the NHS Race and Health Observatory (RHO).

It says suicide rates for this group are up to 7 times higher than all other communities  and there is widespread fear and mistrust of services.

Recommendations for improvement include:

  • NHS England standards to improve data collection across statutory and voluntary sectors
  • Funding which recognises the need to address the sensitivities regarding the mental health issues of Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller peoples in the UK
  • Involving men’s Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller support groups in research
  • Celebrating events such as Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller History Month in schools, health, and social care services.

Read more and download the report from the NHS RHO website here.

New evidence collection on breast cancer risk

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has published a collection of evidence on breast cancer risk to support healthcare professionals and the public.

It says possible changes to breast cancer screening mean women need to understand their breast cancer risk now more than ever.

The UK’s National Screening Committee is considering introducing risk-based screening for breast cancer.

The NIHR collection includes sections on:

  • How age and lifestyle affect breast cancer risk
  • Family history and genetics
  • How good communication can help women act on their risk

PIF’s guidance on communicating benefits, risks and uncertainties is included in the collection.

Access the full collection via the NIHR website here.

Building bridges with social prescribing

A report explores the experiences of social prescribing among people with learning disabilities and autistic people.

It found social prescribing has the potential to reduce health inequalities.

It includes suggestions to make sure social prescribing works for people with learning disabilities and autistic people. For social prescribers, these include:

  • Using person-centred approaches
  • Engaging with families and other supporters
  • Spending time with community groups to make sure they can make the adaptations needed

Download the full report via the National Development Team for Inclusion website here.

Evaluation of social prescribing ‘vital’

A briefing paper from the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) aims to support charities and community organisations to evaluate their social prescribing.

The paper highlights the importance of evaluation for effective programmes.

It points to several useful evaluation toolkits and identifies potential solutions to the challenges of effective evaluation.

Find out more and download the briefing from the NASP website here.

Inclusive language in maternity services

The Scottish Perinatal Network (SPN) has published guidance on the use of inclusive language in maternity services.

It says its language will reflect that most pregnant people identify as women. This means its most used terms will be ‘woman’ and ‘women'.

The guidance highlights the difficulty of meeting the unique language preferences of every individual in resources meant for groups of people.

It signposts additional resources from other professional organisations, including the Healthcare Improvement Scotland Inclusive Language Guide.

Read more on the SPN website here.

Podcast: How to champion health literacy system-wide                          

A new podcast from US website Health Literacy Out Loud (HLOL) examines the value of encouraging health literacy best practice across organisations. 

Health educator Greg O’Neill talks about how he developed a team to champion health literacy best practice across his organisation.

Listen to the HLOL podcast here.

5 tips to make podcasts more accessible

A new blog from digital inclusion charity AbilityNet offers top tips to make podcasts more accessible.

The blog covers 5 key areas:

  1. Clear audio
  2. Transcripts
  3. Clear and concise language
  4. Descriptions of visual content
  5. Accessible promotion

Read the full blog on the AbilityNet website here.

Blog: Why diversity is important in good research

In this blog for the NHS Health Research Authority (HRA), Neelam Patel discusses the importance of diversity in research.

She shares how a visit to an NHS Health Check van outside her new gym highlighted her own increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

The HRA is working with the MHRA to develop guidance to support increased diversity in research participation.

Read the full blog on the HRA website here.

NCVO winter survey 2023

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is hosting a survey to highlight the challenges facing the voluntary sector this winter.

It hopes to quantify the issue to help people outside the sector understand it better.

Take the survey on the NCVO’s Microsoft forms site here.

Campaign for adults to attend sight tests

The Welsh government is urging people over 30 to have regular sight tests at their local optician.

The Help Us Help You campaign says routine sight tests are the best way to make sure eyes are healthy.

They could lead to successful treatment for unknown, sight-threatening conditions before people recognise any changes in their sight.

Read more about the campaign via the Welsh Government website here.