New NICE guidance encourages doctors and nurses to comfort children

Categories: Care.

Over the past few years healthcare professionals have become reluctant to personal interaction with children following numerous cases of child abuse scandals. New proposed guidelines from The National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE) have made it clear that physical contact is important, especially for children. The guidelines suggest that physical contact such as ‘touch, holding and massage’ should be provided as a non-pharmalogical intervention for pain.

Dr Emily Harrop, a consultant in paediatric palliative care at Helen and Douglas House and interim chair of the NICE guideline committee said, “People are right to put in certain boundaries but there are times in care where hugging a child is very helpful and compassion can make a big difference.  99.9 per cent of people who work with children have the best of intentions and it is just a tiny number who abuse that trust.”

In England there are over 40 000 children and young people living with incurable conditions. The guidelines emphasize a range of important issues such as the use of art, music and play to introduce the concept of death to children and the importance of keepsakes for parents. Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association said, “Even the smallest things that happen towards the end of a patient’s life can have a huge and lasting impact on patients and their families’ feelings about their care, and we encourage compassionate policies that have a human touch.”

Professor Mark Baker, director for the centre of clinical practice at NICE said, “NICE has made a special effort to speak directly to young people with life-limiting illness and their families who are supporting them. Their voices and experience will help us all to provide the very best medical and emotional support possible.” The consultation for this draft guidance is now open and will run until 12 August 2016. To read this full article, click here.