It takes a team: A collective narrative project involving young people with chronic health concerns and their families

Melbourne is sometimes referred to by its citizens as one of ‘the sporting capitals of the world’. It is also home to the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH). A unique project recently took place at this hospital, utilising sporting metaphors and the Team of Life narrative approach to assist young people and their families.

When adulthood approaches for young people who have attended hospital over many years throughout their childhood due to serious and chronic health conditions, the transition can be complex. Moving from the care of dedicated staff at the Royal Children’s Hospital into adult health services can pose significant challenges. The Transition Support Service at the RCH supports young people and their families through this process.

The ‘It takes a team’ project involved a partnership between the Transition Support Service (Manager: Evelyn Culnane and peer mentors: Bec Peters and Tim Demos) and Dulwich Centre Foundation (David Denborough, Pam Rycroft and Glenda Fredman). We worked together to adapt the Team of Life narrative approach to support young people and their families.

In order to be most accessible for families who have many demands on their time, we arranged for the project to consist of one-off sessions, mostly in the evenings, and involving a meal. Young people who were patients of the hospital were invited along with their parents, siblings, and sometimes a friend. Five of these sessions were held with different groups of young people and parents, and the project concluded with an ‘extravaganza’ event to which all the young people and families who had attended any of sessions were invited.

To read about the process and to see the Team Sheets, goal maps and documents that were created through the process, please follow the links on the right.

Acknowledgment

This project was funded by The Samuel Nissen Charitable Foundation and Perpetual Philanthropic Services. Thank you!

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