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Seriously ill – but mostly just young

Psychosocial effort for adolescents with serious, chronic or deadly diseases.

Seriously ill adolescents are extremely vulnerable and loaded down by disease, treatment, hospitalization and the ensuing social isolation. A new center at Copenhagen's Rigshospitalet seeks to create an optimal context for young people to evolve and live a young person's life with all the associated thoughts, feelings, and interests.

Hospitals have no youth sections. Young patiens are treated either in children's sections or in sections where their fellow patiens are adults, often elderly people. Young people who are already exceptionally vulnerable due to their decease often feel very lonely. Their development and desire for normal youth life is severely limited.

Ungdomsmedicinsk Videnscenter (Youth Medical Knowledge Center was established by donations from the Egmont Foundation. The center works to improve conditions for young patients and ensure their engagement in their own treatment. In addition to a cafe and activities for the young patients, the hospital has social workers attached whom the patiens can speak to and lean on for support.

Most recently, the Egmont Foundation has supported the project A Good Youth Life Despite Serious Illness. The project examines and documents the methods used by social workers at the center with the improving quality of life for the young patients. In the long term, the project will lay the foundation for embedding these methods at Rigshospitalet and other Danish hospitals and ensure further research in the methods of social workers in connection with young people in hospitals. 

On estimate, at least one in ten young Danes live with a chronic decease and the number of young patients is rising. 

The center has also received support from the Oak Foundation.