How to reflect the voice of young people – Working with Bradford young carers #CityofYouth

The People’s Board (PB) and Young Carers (YCs) Initiative – Lead by Sam Samociuk (author of this blog post), Huma Malik and Adam Deacon.

The PB had discussions on how best to reflect the voice of young people of Bradford, as we are to be the youngest city in Europe.

We considered membership of the PB, but this was fraught with difficulties, regarding timings of meetings, ages of participants and relevance of content of meetings. It was decided that a small sub-group of the PB, (Huma, Sam and Adam) would task themselves with meeting young people at Barnardo’s to discuss their role.

Our aim, in making stronger connections with Young People’s groups including Young Carers (YCs), was setting up a ‘satellite’ group that the PB can consult and engage with on relevant health and social care issues.

Our first meeting in July 2017 was to ask the Young Carers,

“How would a YCs satellite group look to them?”

Their answers were;

  • A social media presence, sharing in a virtual way
  • Face to Face meetings with PB members 3-6 monthly initially
  • Utilising Personal Stories to highlight issues
  • Meeting late afternoon or evenings

Issues for Young Carers (from July and November meetings)

We asked the YCs what sort of issues were current for them, or longstanding, they said;

  • When attending GP and Hospital appointments, there is a lack of communication with YCs on treatment and care issues, like medication changes and compliance, even though they administer the medications
  • Not included in Care planning and Discharge planning
  • Not included in prescribing process of medication – professionals think young people will mess it up
  • Young people have to works stuff out after the appointment by themselves
  • Constant worry about the person they are caring for
  • Limited written information available about the illnesses their loved ones have
  • The leads in schools are not always approachable
  • The YCs see some of the problem being that professionals are too bound up with protocols and not wanting to breach confidentiality.

We discussed the need to raise YCs issues in Schools and Colleges more.

The YCs think that Professionals think that Young People, in general, are not mature enough to handle complex information and care issues, even though they are dealing with them each and every day.

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