New convention for the treatment of children young people and expectant mothers

​Shared principles will replace the many different approaches so that, going forward, Rigshospitalet will not be perceived as “10 different realms”

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Picture caption: Clinical lead consultant Thomas Kofoed, consultant Hanne Hove and consultant Thomas Hjuler have been working with many other doctors, nurses and midwives to develop the convention and create new patient pathways.

When children, young people, expectant mothers and their families come to Rigshospitalet, their treatment must be based on the same principles, whichever part of the hospital they engage with. This is to ensure a more consistent and reassuring patient experience and the aim of a new shared convention for the treatment of children, young people and expectant mothers across Rigshospitalet. This convention is for use both now and in the future Children’s Hospital, Copenhagen. Merete Lange, Head of Children’s Hospital, Copenhagen and Centre Director for the Juliane Marie Centre, explains:

“In several of the user surveys we’ve conducted while preparing Childrens Hospital Copenhagen, patients have said that coming to Rigshospitalet is like visiting ten different realms with lots of different ways of doing things. This can create great uncertainty for patients, and we can do better here, for example by having the same guidelines for managing pain across the departments.

“The convention has been drawn up by clinicians who work with children, young people and expectant mothers across Rigshospitalet, and the board and centre management have decided to make it apply throughout the hospital. I see that as extremely positive,” she says.

A playful approach makes things easier

One of the common principles of the convention is that play should be integrated into the treatment of children, young people and expectant mothers. This really matters, according to Morten Bøttger, consultant and paediatric anaesthesiologist at the Centre of Head and Orthopaedics, who has been involved in the work on the convention:

“We’re under tremendous pressure to produce outcomes, with complex workflows that children and parents find particularly challenging. That’s why it’s so important to have procedures in place that invite you to play, so children don’t feel like they’ve landed in a factory. In the North Wing, we have large, bright operating theatres and a waiting room with a big interactive screen to encourage play and curiosity.

Play with and around the children is very important, preferably using tablets or the VR goggles developed by our colleagues in the Paediatric Pain Management Unit. Diversions are a great way to carry families through a tough day,” Morten Bøttger explains.

Enhanced cooperation

The work of formulating the convention across specialties, departments and centres has already enhanced cooperation:

“I think we’ll see a growing trend towards cooperation across centres. For example, we’re organising an international course together with Neurology, Cardiology and the Juliane Marie Centre’s Paediatric Pain Management Centre. Here, we supplement one another’s skill-sets, which enables us to handle an exciting challenge together,” Morten Bøttger continues.

New convention – in brief

  • The convention for children, young people and expectant mothers at Rigshospitalet is intended to support a shared culture and covers five themes: cohesion, a playful approach, partnerships, research and professionalism.

  • It is part of the hospital’s strategic focus area of “Rigshospitalet for children” as well as “Children as relatives” and Children’s Hospital Copenhagen (“BørneRiget”).

  • The convention came into being as part of the development of BørneRiget, Rigshospitalet’s new hospital building for children, young people and expectant mothers, due to open in 2025.

  • More than 17 different departments and more than 50 doctors, nurses, midwives and other professionals have worked with patients and relatives to prepare it.


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