Giving teenagers a place to heal

2016-05-31 11:31
Brothers, Rameez (right) and Rafieq from Hanover Park watch a movie while Zyaan Makda from Strandfontein relaxes in the pod while receiving treatment.

Brothers, Rameez (right) and Rafieq from Hanover Park watch a movie while Zyaan Makda from Strandfontein relaxes in the pod while receiving treatment.

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Comfort comes first for young cancer patients at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

Often isolated within the medical setting, adolescents and young adults with cancer face unique challenges.

Traditionally, cancer patients fall into two distinct groups: adults and children.
“Teenagers in paediatric units struggle with crying babies and an environment which does not recognise their need to have some autonomy,” says Professor Alan Davidson, head of haematology and oncology at the facility.

“Other adolescents and young adults in adult units are equally vulnerable to alienation in services that are not set up to deal with their psychosocial needs.”
Cape Town charity Ari’s Cancer Foundation developed a youth booth specifically aimed at the needs of adolescents and young adults to not only keep them busy while receiving treatment, but entertained too.

The booth was officially launched at the hospital on Tuesday 24 May.
The first of its kind in Africa, the R70 000 Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Youth Booth is a safe haven for adolescent and young adult patients providing a comfortable workspace and recreational area for patients to relax and be entertained while they are undergoing treatment at the hospital.

It is a space they can call their own and to which they can escape from their condition for some time while within the hospital setting.
“The idea is to give young adults a comfortable area to relax and be entertained while they are undergoing treatment,” says Alan Jansen of the Ari’s Cancer Foundation.
“This area is also designed to inspire the type of colourful and positive energy that we hope to give to the young adults, rather than a typical scenario where they tend to be consumed with the negative thoughts of the treatment.”

Ari’s Cancer Foundation aims to set up similar AYA Youth Booths in oncology units around South Africa.

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