Communicating with children in a friendly way, which suits their age, helps to build confidence.
Skin issues are the most common medical condition seen in children. Providing them with dermatological care is a unique opportunity, to adopt an approach which is age appropriate, positive, and inclusive.
There are medical guidelines, such as the National Services Framework for Children & Young People. The British Association of Dermatologists and the British Society for Paediatric Dermatology produce clinical guidance.
Practical elements do matter, a specialist can ensure the right dosage of medication is given for body size, that side effects are considered. What is safe for adults could be dangerous for children.
Above all, the right ethos should be in place, where meeting a child’s needs is the foremost outcome measure and a good experience is a priority.
The needs of a child’s family count, as does their input. For younger children, they are often a vital information route, on how long an issue has been in place, wider symptoms, changes in behavior.
Communicating with all ages and their families should be about more than the condition. Any effect on activities, or education can be discussed, whether schools should be informed by parents, or briefed on support they can give.
External support can be worthwhile, although a paediatric dermatologist must be skilled in communicating with young patients. Observing and examining children is part of their role but so is making a health visit a positive time.
The same principle applies beyond the visit, understanding whether a child feels embarrassed by their condition, or is being teased, whether friendships are affected. Good communication from a doctor can help.
We all need to work together to ensure children do not see themselves as their condition. To understand they are not just about their skin, that letting their confidence shine through helps others to see them for who they are.
Alongside medical good practice and clarity, most guidelines point out the importance of all staff involved being well trained. Nurses have a key role in caring for children with skin conditions and must understand their needs.
In conjuction with your consultant, nursing staff help to support a child’s emotional welfare. Dedicated dermatology nurses understand the importance of this, not least when treatment continues over an extended period.
Every member of staff can play a part in a young patient feeling positive about their condition and treatment. An aspect promoted by medical guidelines because of the important part this plays in recovery.
Our clinic treats children with a wide variety of skin conditions, from acne, dermatitis, or infections, to less common illnesses such as vitiligo. They are all given equal care, as the unique individuals they are.
Offering a well run facility in an overall sense matters, as reflected in our CQC overview. Medical efficacy is essential for successful diagnosis and treatment, although we view the wider aspects of paediatric best practice as equally vital.
A child needs to feel safe and welcomed, to trust a medical environment, their life should keep to normality as far as possible. Paediatric dermatology must be about treating the person, along with their condition.