Liverpool John Moores University has completed a national evaluation project for the NHS, assessing the effectiveness of public health materials for school-aged children. The evaluation report can be read here.
Researchers from the School of Nursing and Allied Health, School of Teaching and Professional Learning and the Centre for Public Health worked together on the project to evaluate the impact of learning resources aimed at educating primary aged children about health services.
The schools’ education pack, based on the adventures of Monkey, aims to try to reduce demand on Accident and Emergency departments by explaining to children when they would need to go to hospital, the walk-in centre or the doctor, depending on their injury or illness. The goal was to educate children so they would pass on this information to their parents.
Packs were sent out to the head teacher of every primary school in the country and included a teacher’s resource guide, lesson plans and activities, stickers, a monkey puppet, scenario cards and posters. Children also dressed up as paramedics and there were DVD clips available online featuring ‘Young Health Explorers’ who were confronted with different medical situations. Teachers used those films to demonstrate to children what action they should take in different situations.
Helen Sadler, formerly a primary school teacher, created the pack which evolved from her first project, a story she created for her child who needed to undergo major surgery. ‘Monkey has an Operation‘ showed her then 18-month-old daughter what would happen at the hospital and during the operation, demystifying the process and enabling her child to feel confident during the procedure.
The role of the LJMU evaluation team was to establish the success of the packs so electronic questionnaires were sent to every primary school in the country to get feedback and telephone interviews or lesson observations were carried out in schools. They found that children not only learnt when to attend A&E but also discovered what ‘N’HS’ stands for, the range of services available and they learned about mental health and well-being and how to eat healthily.
Due to the success of the evaluation project, LJMU has been asked to work on another NHS project to develop digital badges. Digital badges are awarded for Information Technology accomplishments and skills that can be earned in various learning environments.
Nick Medforth, Senior Lecturer/Associate Dean (Quality), of LJMU’s Faculty of Education, Health and Community, said:
“It was a privilege to be involved in the national evaluation of a very creative and innovative project which took a public health approach to responding to some acute health service challenges. The project had a positive impact on primary aged children’s learning about the NHS, its values and the range of services it provides for them should they have acute and urgent care needs. It provided a vehicle for teachers, parents, health and other professionals to work together in fun and engaging ways and develop a learning community which has can positively impact on the health and well-being of children and their families now and in the future. The project also provided an opportunity for colleagues from across the recently formed Faculty of Education, Health and Community, to share ideas and recognise and value each other’s expertise.”