- Behind the scenes at Usborne
Kid-centric leaflet for kids visiting hospital by Usborne and Cambridge University Hospitals is the subject of a medical research paper
Well this is a first! Usborne is mentioned in a medical research paper published by the BMJ Paediatrics Open, a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The paper evaluates the children's information leaflet, Coming to hospital, which Usborne collaborated on with Cambridge University Hospitals medics, based on our flap book Look Inside a Hospital.
We always hoped that the book would help allay children's fears and demystify what really goes on inside a hospital. My co-author, Dr Zoe Fritz, had a wealth of experience and contacts to draw on, to help make the book as real and reassuring as possible. We also had the invaluable insights of our brave, young patient consultant, Josh Hammond, not to mention a dream design team and delightful illustrations by Stefano Tognetti.
As the book neared completion, it was Zoe’s colleague (and our adviser on the pages about operations), paediatric surgeon Stephen Farrell, who wondered whether we might be able to use some of the book’s content to make a leaflet – something that all kids could be handed as they arrive at a hospital, to help put them at ease. Zoe enlisted the help of two medical students, Elisha Clarke and Sanjana Sanghavi, to look into what publications were already available, and incredibly they discovered very little. There was definitely nothing that used the combined skills of a children's publisher and experienced medics to make a friendly, informative, age-appropriate resource.
We knew we were onto something special, and hopefully extremely useful, but Zoe wanted to be sure. Once we'd put together a draft leaflet, it was tested on a young people’s focus group and developed further. Then Usborne printed 3,000 copies to be trialled at Addenbrooke’s hospital. Now the full evaluation is available for all to read on the BMJ Paediatric Open website.
Here are just some of the things patients said:
- “You don’t have to be scared at the hospital because it tells you what things they normally do” (age 8).
- “It made me more calm in the part that shows all the doctors working together to solve the problem” (age 14).
- “The part about needles just being a little scratch and that the numbing cream helps made me feel a lot better about having a blood test soon” (age 10).
A pie chart showing feedback of the leaflet.
We're delighted that the leaflet has been judged a success – most importantly by the children themselves – and that we can now offer it as a free downloadable resource for any hospital. We purposefully designed it as a tri-fold, double-sided leaflet, so it can be easily printed onto a single sheet of A4. Please spread the word and feel free to use it. Hopefully it will help many more children to come.