Adult holding a child's hand which has a cannula in it

Medical Mediation Foundation

Difficult decisions are often faced in clinical settings, especially where children are being treated. Sadly, in some cases, differing opinions about care or treatment can result in conflict between families and the clinicians treating their children. These conflicts can have a deep and long-lasting impact on all parties. True Colours is delighted to be working with the Medical Mediation Foundation on an exciting initiative to embed the use of conflict management and mediation skills within clinical teams.

This three-year project sees MMF working with three specialist UK hospitals to train staff in how to recognise and manage potential conflicts between families and health professionals. The hospitals involved are Leeds Children’s Hospital, Newcastle’s Great Northern Children’s Hospital and the Oxford Children’s Hospital/ Helen & Douglas House Hospice for Children. Despite the evolving challenges that the pandemic has presented, large numbers of nursing, medical and allied healthcare staff from the first wards from the three project sites have attended the training at three levels, extending up to the creation of champions for each site. MMF are also developing in-house trainers – an important part of the project’s sustainability. The impact of the project is being independently evaluated.

The hope is that this project will result in staff feeling better equipped and supported to have potentially challenging conversations about children’s medical treatment and care with patients themselves and with their families. It will reduce the overall burdens of conflicts and ultimately, we hope that patients and families will experience measurable benefit.