Published Oct 29, 2003
I work on a general paediatric ward where there is no direct provision for adolescents, though we take "children" up to the age of 18. We are reveiwing our policies for adolescents and have come across the sticky question of when is it okay to let a "child" leave the ward (either to visit the kiosk or go for a walk in the grounds etc) on their own. Has anyone else had experience with this situation or have a formal policy that they think adequately addresses this issue?
We had that ability to let teens off the floor /outside. I cannot remember the minimum age.
1. Parent permission
2. Permission to leave and a commitment of what time to return from nurse caring for child / teen.
3. Sign in and sign upout at book at unit clerk
I was thinking about this further yesterday and wondered if, rather than an age limit, whether we should perhaps make up a criteria list, to assess whether the individual has the capacity to leave the ward safely. ie we sometimes get teenagers with mental health issues, such as self harming ideation, so making a decision about whether they are suitably okay to leave or not is a tough one. (Not that that necessarily stops them from just walking out!). We have recently moved from discharging day patients after a specified time to meeting specified criteria (yep, gradually moving out of the dark ages!), so I thought this might be an appropriate time to tackle this subject. However, while there is plenty of literature about day surgery etc, there isn't much about policy for adolescents, apart from the ideal for the adolescent ward environment...unless anyone can point me to something that I may have missed?
Failing that, just ideas from experienced people would be a step forward.
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