What’s it like seeing a GP about a long-term problem?
Everyone’s experience is different. The young people we spoke to felt that it was important for GPs to:
• use words that are easy to understand instead of medical jargon and acronyms. Use age-appropriate language.
For younger patients, it’s better to talk in an easy to understand way. As Simon got older he started learning more about his condition and understood more complex words.
• talk to the young person instead of to their parent(s)
• give young people all the information they need about their condition, including how it could affect them emotionally and where they can find support
• appreciate that there’s a lot of pressure on young people and even more on young people living with a long-term health problem
• involve young people in making decisions about their health, including tests, treatment and long-term plans
• ask young people during the consultation (appointment) how they feel physically and emotionally
• acknowledge how hard it might be for a young person to live with a long-term condition
• listen to what a young person is saying. They might have found things that are helpful that doctors don’t know about, especially if it’s a rare condition.
Caitlin: It’s important to respect the knowledge patients with complex needs often have about their own health and care
Simon lives with juvenile arthritis. It was important for him to have a GP with an interest in this and to see the same doctor whenever possible.