16 Delivering a psychological group intervention for young people with a cardiac condition in transition to adult services

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Abstract

Background

We aimed to explore whether Narrative group therapy is an effective intervention for young people (YP) living with a cardiac condition entering into transition.

Methods

YP were invited to attend a cardiac transition day (‘Rhythmic Beats’); a London initiative set up to support YP in transition to adult services. 25 YP took part in the psychology workshop, (14 females, 11 males), aged 12–16. The workshop was run in three parts: (1) Daily lives; YP were asked about their daily activities, skills, important people, family, wishes and dreams, (2) Medical journey: YP spoke about their cardiac condition, what they have been through and what is next, and (3) YP shared their stories with others in their group. At the end of the workshop each YP had created a strand of beads to represent their daily lives and their medical journey. At the end of the workshop each YP was asked questions aimed to uncover the experience of talking and beading within a group setting, and the impact on the YP’s thoughts and feelings towards their cardiac condition and of the transition process. Responses were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results

Four key themes emerged: (1) Improving confidence, (2) Fun, (3) Knowledge, and (4) Sharing experiences. Beading was seen as a communication tool to tell others what they had been through. Many expressed that they had not talked about their condition with another young person living with a cardiac condition before.

Conclusions

Narrative therapy can offer YP an opportunity to reflect on various aspects of their experiences with their cardiac condition, both positive and negative. The beading programme enabled the YP to story their cardiac journey in their own words; this is particularly important at a time of transition when YP are expected to be taking more independence in looking after their condition and overall health.

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