It is a challenge to communicate key health messages to children and young people. Many looked after children have perceived problems with authority, and traditional communication channels are often not appropriate or relevant to them. Additionally, healthcare is often considered to be a low priority amongst children and young people.
What we did
Working with a group of looked after children and young people, we produced four quick, animated videos, called “infotoons”, which look to raise awareness of how to access key primary care health services, such as how to register with a GP, registering with a dentist and understanding and getting immunisations. The children were involved throughout, helping to design, revise and approve the videos, and also provided voice overs for the content. This helped to ensure messaging was current and relevant to the audience.
The infotoons were developed to be:
- Easy to follow, with simple messaging people could take on board quickly and clearly
- Attractive, to help draw the attention in a way that is pleasing to the target audience
- Social, explaining what most people do and what people should do differently
- Timely, ensuring the children had the right information when they needed it
- Novel, interesting and surprising, using imagery relevant to young people
- Informative, highlighting inconsistency with lifestyle choices
- Contemporary, helping to reframe health messaging
- Relatable and emotive, using emotional contrasts of fear and of pride
We also developed, in collaboration with the children, a set of “grab guides” – illustrated information leaflets containing key messages, important information to remember and easy to follow, step by step guides on how to “grab control” of their health and wellbeing.
Who we worked with
This work was led our Designated Nurse for Looked after Children and her team, to support some of the most vulnerable young people in our area.
- 20 looked after children and young people, and care-experienced adults, who were integral to the co-design of the content
- An artist who helped facilitate design sessions, getting everyone involved
- Doctors and nurses specialising in supporting looked after children; regional and local commissioners; Directors of Children’s Services for local authorities, all of whom helped develop key health messaging
- Coventry Voice of Care and Care Leaver’s Forum, which helped ensure the work was relatable and me the needs of the target audience
- Residential care home managers and the Foster Carer Forum
The project was delivered within budget and on time, with the planned implementation to align with the Local Authorities care leavers offer.
Following a successful launch in December 2019, the infotoons have been shared with other providers and NHS England as a trusted resource for looked after children’s teams to use nationally.
Social Worker Manager: “These are a fabulous engaging resource. We are going to embed them into the young people’s pathway plan to help guide them to meet their basic health care needs”
Social Worker: “I think they are great and the young people I have shown them to really get the messages”
Looked After Children’s Nurse: “These are brilliant. We are using them when we do the health assessments with all 15-18 year olds to help demystify registering with a GP, Dentist and Optician. The immunisations one is great as it’s a challenge to convince young people to get their booster injections and this helps to share the message really well in a way they will understand. Genius!”
Looked after Young Person: “It’s really great to see that the messages we worked on haven’t been changed….these are our ideas about what young people think are important and are not like the usual instructions and list of things we have to do. They show good choices and help us to make the best decisions”
Director of Public Health: “Wow! I took a bit of convincing about the cultural references, but they really hit the spot”
The programme will continue to develop the infotoons and share the content to help looked after young people better navigate the health and care system. We will continue to involve the young people in the development of this work and share it more widely to enable other areas to support their looked after children.