Guide to children’s participation in decisions about their health
Creating the conditions for meaningful child participation
The participation of children in decision-making processes concerning their care should be seen as a progressive and rolling process. Each visit or hospitalisation is an opportunity to build children’s competencies and ability to learn about their health, understand related processes and be more effectively involved in decision-making processes affecting their own lives. Children who are in regular contact with healthcare services, including children with chronic conditions, often have more power to negotiate, more space for participation and more autonomy with their parents and health professionals, as compared to other children (FucciStefania Fucci (2020). “L’écoute des enfants dans les contextes de soins”, Revue des sciences sociales, 63, (p.88-95).).
To ensure that participation happens in a meaningful way, professionals must pay attention to providing appropriate information to children, listening to them and taking their views seriously into account. Professionals must also understand how to manage conflict, while respecting children’s rights.