Long term health conditions

Advice to doctors and nurses

We asked young people to give health professionals (doctors, nurses etc.) their advice about how to make things better for young people living with a long-term illness. Here is what they have to say:

Communication and attitudes of doctors and nurses

  • Talk to me as a person and don't lecture me.
  • Be compassionate and sensitive, sometimes we're in a great deal of pain.
  • Talk to us and not just our parents.
  • Don't see us as just 'the patient' but see us as teenagers with other things going on in our lives as well.
  • If you suspect a young person is not following his/her treatment, do nag, bribe and place bets. It makes the patient-doctor interaction more interesting.
  • Be sensitive to our problems and our needs in living with a long-term illness.
  • Some of us need more frequent hospital appointments.
  • We have lived with our condition most of our lives so we know as much as you do. Please acknowledge our understanding of the condition.
  • It's important for young people to have a say in their treatment.
  • Reassured us when you see us frightened and nervous.
  • Try and look at things from our perspective.
  • Give us the opportunity to talk to you away from our parents.
  • Be friendly.
  • Be knowledgeable.

Advice and information about long-term illness:

  • Provide sensitive information in a non-frightening manner.
  • Tell us everything we need to know about our condition.
  • Ask us questions that might help us overcome our embarrassment about discussing certain issues like sex.
  • Educate and inform us about our condition so we understand and control it better.

Last reviewed July 2017.

Last updated February 2012.

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