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Kids' Hospital Passports open the door to better hospital stays


'Hospital Passport Coping Kits’, which help children choose how they would like to be supported during treatment, can play a valuable role in reducing young people’s anxiety during hospital stays, new research shows.

A study by NHS Education for Scotland (NES) found that giving children a simple way to choose and communicate things like their favourite coping and relaxation techniques can help make their stay in hospital easier and ensure they feel more involved. To promote effective use of the Hospital Passport, NES have also developed and supported delivery of training on the Passport to NHS staff across Scotland since 2013 which has also recently been evaluated.

Researchers from NES’ Psychology directorate surveyed 77 paediatric staff who have been using Hospital Passports regularly. The team found that 86 percent of staff said the kits helped parents and carers encourage their children to use psychological coping strategies, while 73 percent said the passports helped children to communicate with staff.

In addition, 42 percent of hospital staff surveyed believed that the Hospital Passports could actually reduce the amount of time needed to prepare children for procedures.

Psychologist Dr Janie Donnan, Programme Lead for Paediatric Psychology at NES and co-creator of the Hospital Passport Coping Kit, said:

"The Passport has proven to be a great success, with parents and children as well as healthcare staff. The feedback we received showed that it is helping staff manage children’s distress more effectively and generally promoting communication in how best to support children and involve them in their own healthcare, leading to better outcomes.”

Hospital Passports provide a fun and easy way for young patients to communicate with staff. They can write down questions for their doctors, and record information on the best ways to cheer them up or take their minds off their worries. Children can also collect stickers and stamps while they undergo various treatments, or 'travel' to different departments.

The Hospital Passport Coping Kit was developed at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow and rolled out across Scotland in 2013 with funding from Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity and NHS Education for Scotland. The charity has also funded the development of the HospiChill app, an app version of the Hospital Passport, which was rolled out earlier this year to appeal to older children and teenagers.

Shona Cardle, Chief Executive of Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity said:

“Going into hospital can sometimes be a daunting and frightening time for a child as they don't know what to expect. The Hospital Passport and HospiChill app are both incredibly useful resources for helping our young patients cope with the stress and anxiety surrounding a hospital visit.

“Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity aim to ensure that our young patients have the best possible care and experience, so we are delighted to have funded [the kits and app] to ensure that children and young people feel as comfortable and prepared as possible ahead of their hospital visit.”


Ref. PR2017-001

Further Information From
Ian Williamson, tel. 0131 656 4367 email:

Note to Editors
1. NHS Education for Scotland (NES) is a national special health board working to provide education, training and workforce development for those who work in and with NHSScotland. Our aim is to provide excellence in health and care for the people of Scotland through high quality education, training and development:

2. The research highlighted in this release was originally published in The British Psychological Society’s Newsletter of the Division of Clinical Psychology Scotland (DCP-S), Summer 2016 edition.

To promote effective use of the Hospital Passport, NES have also developed and supported delivery of training on the Passport to NHS staff across Scotland since 2013 which has also recently been evaluated