Thursday 12 February 2015, 20:47 | By

In the News February 2015 – Spotlight on Care for Young People and Children

CSL In The News CSL Reportage

This month has seen CSL focus on the needs of the ageing population as you’ll see from our interview with Peter Wintlev-Jensen (deputy Head of Unit in the European Commission DG Connect) who talks about the upcoming EU Summit on Active and Healthy Ageing, as well as CSL founder Ian Spero’s latest Huffington Post blog which addresses how leading brands are incorporating older adults in their marketing campaigns. As you will have seen if you follow us on Twitter, we have also been promoting news items relating to palliative care, digital health technology and creative arts therapies that tackle the needs of children and young people. Here are some of the more interesting examples.

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CARE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE AND CHILDREN LIVING WITH CANCER 

With the encouraging news that cancer deaths in young people have dropped 60% in 40 years (according to Cancer Research UK), it can be easy to overlook the needs of those who survive cancer, especially when young people get transferred from children’s to adult healthcare services. At CSL, we are keen to highlight the issues surrounding wellbeing for people who are – or have been – facing a life threatening condition and we were pleased to see that St Christopher’s hospice in south east London has launched informal drop-in sessions for such young people.

Currently, the group is available for young people aged 17-25 living in Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham, and provides a place to connect with peers in a similar situation and take part in activities such as music, painting drama, massage and digital arts, as reported by eHospice.com.

This news came in the same month as another report by Cancer Research UK, calling for research into physical, psychological and emotional needs of cancer survivors. As well as the physical side effects of life post-treatment which affected 37% of those who were surveyed, 20% said they had unmet financial needs and many claimed they were anxious about their cancer returning.

Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK’s head information nurse added that more research is needed to properly understand the scale and variety of the problems cancer survivors face, and to know what interventions are likely to be most helpful; a point of view that CSL would definitely endorse.

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HEALTHY CHILDREN APP REVIEW 

Staying with the theme of young people, iMedicalApps wrote a review of Healthy Children app, developed by the American Academy of Paediatrics. In a world where ‘Dr Google’ can suggest misleading and sometimes dangerous advice, the Healthy Children app aims to be a voice of authority and a trusted source of accurate information for parents.

The app has various sections including Ages and Stages, Family Life, Healthy Living, Ask a Paediatrician and Find a Paediatrician and has information relating to healthy activities, nutrition, oral health, safety, and family dynamics.

An arguably comprehensive range of content, but it seems as though the app could still be improved by addressing certain bugs (app bugs, not stomach bugs) and improving functionality and user experience by including the ability to save favourite articles or share content via social networks, for instance.

Clearly, it is still a work in progress and we hope that a relevant UK version will be developed soon. In the meantime, there is an NHS Health Apps Library available that lists safe and trusted health apps.

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ART THERAPY HELPS CHILDREN AT RISK OF EXCLUSION FROM SCHOOL HAVE LESS DEPRESSION, FEWER BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS AND IMPROVES SELF ESTEEM

And finally, we’d like to point to a piece by Reuters Health which highlights the benefits of art therapy in schools for children and young people, identified by their teachers as needing behavioural and emotional support.

More than 10,000 children have used the Art Room programmes in nine UK schools since it started in 2002, and research published in The Arts and Psychotherapy journal states that children had fewer behavioural problems and improved self esteem. What’s more, the percentage of children described as having depression fell from 22% to just 4% after they completed the course.

The end goal of the Art Room is to help re-engage children and young people with education and avoid exclusion from mainstream school. Melissa Cortina, a consultant research psychologist with The Art Room, which is based in Oxford said: “Once they (the children) realise they can achieve success in The Art Room, they can take this new-found confidence back into their schools and daily lives.”

While we at CSL focus on creative therapy programmes within the health sector, it is hugely encouraging to hear of creative courses being utilised in the education realm with such promising results too.