WHO WE SUPPORT
Research has demonstrated that a lack of self-confidence and self-belief, coupled with a sense of powerlessness, are common amongst the young people we work with. We see first-hand through out work, as well as how these issues can lead to poor educational outcomes and social isolation, increasing the risk of mental health issues, which can prevent young people from achieving their full potential.
We’d like to put you in the shoes of our young people.Perhaps you are a young carer and mum can’t help you get ready in the morning. Instead, you are responsible for making breakfast and caring for her. You aren’t the best student at school because you’re distracted thinking about her or because you have missed quite a lot o school as you need to take her to hospital appointments. Perhaps you are a young patient transitioning from Paediatric to adult care. You are frustrated and resistant to taking your medication because your life hasn’t panned out how you expected. Or you are one of our school pupils at risk and you are facing difficulties at home which makes focusing on school impossible causing you to be labelled unteachable’.
young carers are children and young people under 18 years old who provide regular and on-going care and emotional support to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuses substances.
Most young carers looks after one of their parents or care for a brother or sister by doing extra jobs in and around the home. According to the 2011 census, there are 178,000 identified young carers in england and wales. when figures from the northern ireland and scottish census are added, the total number of young carers in the UK is at least 195,000. taking the value of unpaid care in the UK and applied specifically to young carers, the size of their contribution is approximately £3.8 billion (Valuing carers, 2015). The true cost however is the consequence of dealing with a young person whose potential has been thwarted.
Young carers typically bear a level of responsibility inappropriate for their age, which detrimentally impacts their physical and emotional wellbeing. They have been found to suffer from anxiety, stress, tiredness, strain within family relationships, restrictions in social activities and relationships, and under-engagement in education (DfE, 2017). From conversations with our young people, these issues very much resonate with them. The report from DfE also stated that “practical, emotional and informational support helps young carers (and their families) to moderate the impact of their caring responsibilities and to prepare for adulthood”.
Young patients may be experiencing lifelong, life limiting medical conditions and are under the care of a hospital. Renaissance Foundation specifically supports young patients who are in the process of transitioning from paediatric (child) to adult care where they will be expected to make decisions for themselves and begin to be responsible for their own care.
The issues faced by young patients with life-limiting conditions in transitioning care are severe and varied, and recent research has demonstrated that these young people’s physical and emotional needs are often not met. It has therefore become an area of significant concern among medical institutions and practitioners. Furthermore, a 2014 study conducted by Care Quality Commission found that most young people had negative experiences of the transition phase and many felt they were told to ‘get one with it’.
Children who are hospitalised for a long period of time miss a lot of school and tend to mature faster than their friends, making it difficult for them to find peers leading to withdrawal, loneliness and emotional seclusion. Having to face the reality of lifelong health challenges often translates into depressive moods, a negative view of life, and a lack of self-esteem. As many as 14% of school aged children exhibit depressive symptoms within three months after diagnosis, often leading to a further deterioration of a child’s physical condition which can worsen peer interaction and school performance.
Renaissance Foundation’s involvement with transitioning patients was initially not a part of the main programme, rather it was delivered as a series of workshops in hospitals. However, the feedback received was incredibly positive because the young people thrived in an environment where they could safely be themselves around peers in a place that was neither school or hospital, hence transitioning patients joined the main ‘I Can Do It’ programme nearly 5 years ago. This demonstrates that there is a need for a place for transitioning patients to be themselves and lean to view themselves as separate from their condition through social engagement.