In a world where there are over 2 billion active users on social media and 91 per cent of teenagers access the internet daily, it is now essential for medical professionals to understand and explore the online tools available to support the care of young people.
Teenagers and Young Adults with Cancer (TYAC) the UK’s leading organisation for professionals involved in the care of teenagers and young adults (TYA) with cancer has now launched a Best Practice Statement for using social media. The guide is set to help change the way professionals provide young people with information about the disease and overcome potential barriers to communication.
“How to provide and manage social media tools for communication with teenagers and young adults” has been designed to help professionals empower young people to choose how to access information, at a time and place that is convenient to them. With 70 per cent of teenagers and young adults describing digital communication as ‘essential’ to their lives, it is important now more than ever that TYAC educates its members to provide the best possible care and information by taking this into account.
Dr Dave Hobin, current TYAC Chair, commented: “Suffering from cancer is a challenge for everyone, but to go through it as a teenager or young adult is especially difficult. A whole number of factors need to be taken into consideration to ensure the most positive experience for young people and communicating information digitally is now a key factor in this.”
“As a charity, our ethos is to engage with multidisciplinary TYA professionals and provide them with resources to keep them as up-to-date as possible with the latest developments in their field. This best practice guide is a prime example of that.”
TYAC’s best practice guide for social media also includes useful information such as online safety advice as well as real insights into how young cancer patients prefer to communicate during their treatment.
Dave continued: “We hope this guide becomes an essential resource for clinicians, nurses, social care and mental health professionals to help provide young people with the cancer care on their level. Using email, text and social media on their terms could help young people take back some level of control at a time when it can feel that a lot of control in their lives is taken away after being told of a cancer diagnosis.”
TYAC is the UK’s only membership body that brings together professionals from a wide range of disciplines to share best practice, enhance knowledge and services, empowering members to have a positive impact on the quality of life and survival outcomes for young people with cancer. TYAC provides a wide range of resources and best practice guides to members and other cancer professionals to improve education about this population.
Alongside its main funding partners Teenage Cancer Trust and CLIC Sargent, TYAC has been instrumental in promoting TYA cancer care as a distinct discipline and continues to strive towards being the top independent unified voice of teenage and young adult cancer professionals championing the interests of young people with cancer in the UK.
The social media best practice guide is available to TYAC members through the website www.tyac.org.uk.
— Teenage Cancer Trust (@TeenageCancer) August 1, 2017