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Charter for Children in Hospital
 

The right to the best possible medical treatment is a fundamental right, especially for children.

UNESCO

 

  • Children shall be admitted to hospital only if the care they require cannot be equally well provided at home or on a day basis.

  • Children in hospital shall have the right to have their parents or parent substitute with them at all times.

  • Accommodation should be offered to all parents, and they should be helped and encouraged to stay. Parents should not need to incur additional costs or suffer loss of income. In order to share in the care of their child, parents should be kept informed about ward routine and their active participation encouraged.

  • Children and parents shall have the right to be informed in a manner appropriate to age and understanding. Steps should be taken to mitigate physical or emotional stress.

  • Children and parents have the right to informed participation in all decisions involving health care. Every child shall be protected from unnecessary medical treatment and investigation.

  • Children shall be cared for together with children who have the same developmental needs and shall not be admitted to adult wards. There should be no age restriction for visitors to children in hospital.

  • Children shall have full opportunity for play, recreation and education suited to their age and condition and shall be in an environment designed, furnished, staffed and equipped to meet their needs.

  • Children shall be cared for by staff whose training and skills enable them to respond to the physical, emotional and developmental needs of children and families.

  • Continuity of care should be ensured by the team caring for the children.

  • Children shall be treated with tact and understanding and their privacy shall be respected at all times.

Written by Dr Priscilla Alderson, Reader in Childhood Studies, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London, and adapted by the European Association for Children in Hospital (EACH). Published in the Bulletin of Medical Ethics, October 1993, Pages 13-15.

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