Adolescent Friendly Site Assessment

Adolescent-friendly spaces are tailored to adolescents needs and are designed to support the research being undertaken. In designing these adolescent-friendly spaces consideration should be given to how much time and when adolescents are going to spend in these spaces and how to accommodate their needs.

Research adolescent friendly spaces

Adolescent friendly spaces are tailored to adolescents needs and are designed to support the research being undertaken. In designing these adolescent friendly spaces consideration should be given to how much time, and when adolescents are going to spend in these spaces and how to accommodate their needs.

Some questions to consider:

  • Should this be a space to relax or a space to do homework?
  • Do you need music and relaxed seating or desks, computer access and wifi?
  • Is fun and innovation the key?
  • Is the space reserved for adolescents – as they don’t want to share space with adults or little children.
  • Is the space being used as a Adolescent clubs/groups gathering point (Covid and social distancing has been hard)
  • Adolescents are always hungry, so do you provide food and if so what is appropriate (and affordable)?

General adolescent-friendly health service characteristics:

To improve the equity of services at the point of delivery. Policies and procedures are in place that do not restrict the provision of health services on any terms.

REMEMBER: Adolescents will not attend a point of service delivery if they feel excluded or discriminated against in any way.

Health-care providers treat all adolescent clients with equal care and respect, regardless of status

REMEMBER: Being treated with disrespect will stop adolescents from seeking help, while being treated equally will encourage them to do so.

Support staff treat all adolescent clients with equal care and respect, regardless of status.

REMEMBER: Being treated with disrespect will stop adolescents from seeking help, while being treated equally will encourage them to do so.

To improve the accessibility of services at point of health service delivery

Policies and procedures are in place that ensure that health services are either free or affordable to adolescents.

REMEMBER: Adolescents who are dependent on their families may not want to ‘add to the burden’ by asking for money to pay for services. They may also be reluctant to disclose why they need to obtain health services.

The point of health service delivery has convenient hours of operation.

REMEMBER: Adolescents may find it difficult to obtain health services if the working hours coincide with times when they are busy with study, work or other activities.

Adolescents are well-informed about the range of available reproductive health services and how to obtain them.

REMEMBER: Informing adolescents about the range of health services available to them can help to encourage usage of services.

Community members understand the benefits that adolescents will gain by obtaining the health services they need, and support their provision.

REMEMBER: Communities are likely to oppose the provision of health services to adolescents if they do not understand – or trust – their value, therefore discouraging adolescents to use the services.

Some health services and health-related commodities are provided to adolescents in the community by selected community members, outreach workers and adolescents themselves.

REMEMBER: Adolescents may be reluctant to visit health facilities and other points of delivery. Some of them may be unable to do so. Outreach workers, selected community members and adolescents themselves can extend the reach of health services into the community.

To improve the acceptability of services at the point of health service delivery level

Policies and procedures are in place that guarantee client confidentiality at all times (except where staff are obliged by legal requirements to report incidents such as sexual assaults, road traffic accidents or gunshot wounds, to the relevant authorities).

REMEMBER: Adolescents are very sensitive to privacy and confidentiality.

The point of service delivery is located in a place that ensures the privacy of adolescent users. It has a layout that is designed to ensure privacy throughout an adolescent’s visit. This includes the point of entry, the reception area, the waiting area, the examination area and the patient-record storage area.

REMEMBER: Adolescents give high priority to privacy. They are more likely to obtain the health services they need if they are confident that they will not be seen by anyone else and where their records remain private

Health care providers are non-judgemental, considerate and open to communication. Health care providers do not criticize their adolescent patients even if they do not approve of their words and actions.

REMEMBER: The ability to respond to adolescents with empathy and sensitivity will contribute to the development of good communication and mutual respect. Whereas judgemental, inconsiderate and unfriendly responses to adolescents will hinder communication and turn them away.

The point of health service delivery ensures consultations occur in a short waiting time, with or without an appointment and (where necessary) swift referral

REMEMBER: Adolescents are more likely than adults to be deterred by long waiting times or by rigid appointment-making policies. Having to wait could lead to missed appointments making health services less effective for adolescents.

The point of health service delivery has an appealing and clean environment

REMEMBER: Adolescents – like adults – may not want to go to a poorly maintained and dirty place.

The point of health service delivery provides information using a variety of methods. Informational materials that are relevant to the health of adolescents provided by the point of health service delivery are available in different formats (e.g. posters, booklets and leaflets). Informational material should be presented in familiar language, easy to understand and be eye-catching.

REMEMBER: Adolescents may not know what they need to understand about the health problems that affect them. Adolescents might be reluctant or embarrassed to ask their parents, teachers and others. In addition, adolescents are more likely to obtain information from their peers which may not be accurate.

Adolescents are actively involved in the assessment and provision of health services.

REMEMBER: Adolescents should be given the opportunity to share their experiences in obtaining health services, and to express their needs and preferences. If adolescents are actively involved in health care provision it will make health services more sensitive to their needs

The appropriateness of health services for adolescents is best achieved if:

The health services required to fulfil the needs of all adolescents are provided either at the point of delivery or through referral linkages.

REMEMBER: Adolescents, including marginalised groups of adolescents, should be able to obtain health services that meet their needs either from a point of health service delivery or from a set of points linked together in an accessible or helpful way.

The effectiveness of health services for adolescents is best achieved if:

Health care providers have the required competencies to work with adolescents and to provide them with the required health services.

REMEMBER: Health care providers should be competent in providing the ‘adolescent-specific’ aspects of providing health promotion, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services, as well as in interpersonal relations and communication.

Health care providers used evidence-based protocols and guidelines to provide health services and have the required knowledge and skills to work with adolescents.

REMEMBER: Heath service provision is based on protocols and guidelines that are technically sound and have been proven useful. These tools are used to provide adolescents with the best course of action in response to their needs.

Health care providers are able to devote adequate time to their patients. Health care providers need adequate time to deal with their patients in an effective manner.

REMEMBER: Adolescents may find it difficult to communicate, be shy or frightened and may need extra time and encouragement to talk about their real concerns.

Points of health service delivery have the necessary equipment, supplies (including medicines) and basic services to deliver the required health services

REMEMBER: Without the basic materials, health services cannot be provided effectively. The provision of health services in such a context may even endanger the health of adolescents.

BY YOLISWA NTSEPE (MA, PhD)
ADOLESCENT PROGRAMMES MANAGER

UPDATED NOV 22, 2023

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

REFERENCES & ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

WHO 2012 Making health services adolescent friendly: developing national quality standards for adolescent friendly health services. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/75217/9789241503594_eng.pdf

WHO 2009 Quality Assessment Guidebook: A guide to assessing health services for adolescent clients. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/44240

WHO 2009 Strengthening the health sector’s response to adolescent health and development. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-FCH-CAH-10-01

Creating a conducive and friendly faculty environment (includes a checklist). https://teampata.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/PATA-A-Good-Practice-Guide_Module-2.pdf