Home Volume: 2, Issue: Supplement 1
International Journal of Healthcare Simulation
Patient and family involvement in designing and evaluating a simulation programme to combat childhood obesity

DOI:10.54531/HNPX5903, Volume: 2, Issue: Supplement 1, Pages: A27-A28
Article Type: Editorial, Article History

Table of Contents





    14.4% enter school reception obese [1]. The Paediatric Emergency Department (PED) offers opportunities for professionals to identify obesity and provide support to children and young people (CYP). Our PED launched an Obesity Toolkit: a medical education project created to help Make Every Contact Count, and to increase opportunistic diagnosis and sensitive communication about obesity (2). This includes teaching resources including communication scenarios and videos. Staff focus groups identified the main barrier for professionals was fear around communicating about obesity in a sensitive way. We aimed to collaborate with CYP to develop our communication simulation programme within the Toolkit. In addition, we aimed to involve families in the evaluation of the project.


    We developed written patient leaflets, written and filmed communication scenarios incorporating feedback given by focus groups with Youth Empowerment Squad (YES), our local Trust CYP forum. The feedback included preferred language, which was emphasised in the debriefings of simulated sessions. The educational role-play scenario videos, which can be debriefed in teaching sessions, were filmed with a CYP taking on the role of a patient. After the release of the toolkit and accompanying simulation programme, 10 patients diagnosed as overweight or obese were randomly selected 2 to 4 months after attendance, as part of a patient experience survey. This telephone call explored parent opinions about the obesity discussion.


    Learning from CYP in YES helped us explore their preferred language, such as focussing on healthy living over the concept of obesity and explaining what is meant by body mass index (BMI). We included this in our debriefings. Our role-play videos are used in training to give examples of obesity discussions with CYP. These were semi-scripted to allow the CYP to incorporate their own voice and provide their insight into how they or their peers might react. In the patient experience survey, all parents were positive about the approach, rating the conversation on average 7.6/10 for being helpful (10 most helpful). Notable comments from parents included ‘the approach was sensitive, they spoke about positive change, not negative’.


    Parents talked positively about conversations that they had about obesity with staff trained using our simulation programme designed following CYP collaboration. It is encouraging that these conversations have been useful for CYP and families. Based on this feedback, we will continue to engage CYP and parents. Feedback from CYP is planned. The Obesity Toolkit is made free and Open Access for any interested departments.


    1. NHS Digital. National Child Measurement Programme, England 2020/21 School Year – NHS Digital. NHS Digital. 2022. https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/national-child-measurement-programme/2020-21-school-year [Accessed on 17/06/2022]

    2. Health Education England. Making Every Contact Count (MECC). 2022. http://makingeverycontactcount.co.uk [Accessed on 17/06/2022]