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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

More than a break: the impact of a social-pedagogical intervention during young persons' long-term hospital admission--a qualitative study

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BACKGROUND: Critical illness and long-term or repeated hospitalization can affect normal adolescent development. As a result, adolescents may feel isolated and "misplaced" on both pediatric and adult departments. The mission of the Center of Adolescent Medicine is to improve conditions for adolescent patients. To achieve this, the social educator offers an individualized social-pedagogical intervention for young people during long-term or repeated hospitalization.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to identify the impact of the social-pedagogical intervention using a qualitative approach.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A trained anthropologist interviewed seven adolescents who had individual sessions with a social educator during their hospital stay. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, and the transcripts were coded and thematized continuously.

RESULTS: Through qualitative analysis, the following themes emerged: Recreation; Structure, participation, and motivation; and Friends and social network. The social-pedagogical approach is a combination of interpersonal relationships and individually tailored recreational activities. Even small entertaining activities changed the focus from patient identity and contributed to the feeling of being "normal." All young patients reported that the increased opportunities for decision-making and influence on the daily structure supported the feeling of being recognized and respected as an individual person as well as increased their motivation to go through their treatment. The interviewees emphasized the importance of experiencing something that was worth telling their friends about to help them stay in touch.

CONCLUSION: Although the young patients emphasized the recreational aspects, the time spent with the social educator facilitated training in social competencies as well as conversations about emotional and sensitive topics.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015

ID: 46271866