To explore approaches to providing youth and adolescent healthcare

Author: Maureen Bell

Traditionally UK healthcare is mainly delivered to 2 sections of the population, children and adults. However, despite adolescence increasingly being recognised as a key developmental phase, there is less consideration taken of this when designing and delivering health services. Care that is designed for adults does not take account of the psychosocial factors which feature in the life of young people which have the potential to challenge normal healthy development. This not only impacts on adolescent's experience of healthcare but also misses the opportunity to identify behaviours and circumstances which present risk to the short and long term health of individuals, opportunities that could enable preventative and early intervention measures. The Centre for Adolescent Health (CAH) in Melbourne has developed over the last 3 decades and is now recognised in Australia and internationally as a Centre of Excellence. The Centre provides medical, surgical and psychiatric/psychosocial care that is developmentally and culturally sensitive for young people between the ages of 12 and 19 years within a youth friendly environment, irrespective of where and who treats them. The centre is socially inclusive, recognising those who are vulnerable or victims of abuse and integrates healthcare within a service for young people who are or at risk of homelessness. This report details the various elements of the model of care provided by the CAH and some other related services in Victoria and demonstrates how these could inform healthcare for adolescents in the UK.