The KAOS (King’s Adolescent Outreach Service) team at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KCH) has recently been highlighted as a “unique service designed to improve the care of adolescents in hospital” in the October 2019 edition of the Royal College of Physicians membership magazine.
The project was launched in April 2018, and set out to contribute to the shared vision between the Children & Young People’s Health Partnership (CYPHP) and KCH of improving the quality and age-appropriateness of care for adolescents. CYPHP initially supported the new collaboration between KCH and youth charity Redthread, and as the KAOS team has continued to prove itself an exceedingly valuable project, KCH has not only decided to continue to fund the project, the hospital has agreed to expand the team.
With a recent addition of another youth worker, the team has been able to extend the age range of young people they see in hospital. Initially referrals included 16-19 year olds, whereas now the team is accepting referrals for 13-25 year olds. Therefore reaching far more young people who have been admitted to various children and adult wards.
What also makes the service unique with its approach to improve care for patients, is the adoption of the Teen Health Talk tool. The tool was co-designed by adolescents and Dr Stephanie Lamb (adolescent GP expert at the Well Centre), to ensure it supports meaningful engagement. The tool guides staff to ask important questions about adolescents’ general health and wellbeing, and it can quickly highlight what additional referrals and appointments may be needed for that young person.
For some more vulnerable patients, the team also finds ‘teachable moments.’ Typically a model used in Redthread’s work to support young people involved in youth violence, the team has found it also works in other clinical settings. Specifically, the team identifies opportunistic moments to speak with an adolescent during a time when they are more likely to engage and accept support.
Support given by KAOS varies from providing a health review, offering education and employment advice, supporting medical treatment and advocacy, enquiring about mental health needs, and referring or signposting to services such as mental health, the Well Centre, sexual health, safeguarding, and substance misuse.
If you would like to learn more about:
- KAOS, follow the KAOS team on Twitter: @KAOS_Kings
- Redthread, including their collaborative work at the Well Centre, please visit their website: http://www.redthread.org.uk/
To read more of the latest news from CYPHP, please click here.