Welcome to Proton Beam Therapy at UCLH. If you are the parent/carer of a child or young person coming for treatment you will meet the paediatric & teenage and young adults’ team. This will include a paediatric and teenage & young adult specialist radiographer and our Health Play Specialists.
We understand that finding out your child may need to have proton beam therapy can raise all sorts of questions and anxieties. We are here to help support you and your family every step of the way.
Before treatment starts, there will be plenty of opportunities to answer your questions, and familiarise you and your child with the team and department. We have lots of tips for making radiotherapy easier, and to make sure you feel comfortable with everything that is happening.
If your child requires chemotherapy during their treatment, there is a team of paediatric oncologists and nurses available. Additional allied health professional services are also available including dieticians and speech and language therapists.
The first step is meeting a doctor in clinic. From there, one of our team will meet with you and/or your family to talk through what the doctor has discussed and begin to prepare your child for each stage of their treatment.
Everyone is an individual and treatment is designed especially for each patient, depending on which area of the body is being treated. Some patients may require personalised immobilisation such as a mould or body support to help them stay nice and comfortable during treatment.
A dedicated team of paediatric anaesthetics and recovery staff are here to ensure children receive their treatment if a general anaesthetic is required.
There are dedicated waiting areas for children and young people to use. These include paediatric, and teenage and young adult waiting areas; and play areas for children and their families to relax in before treatment. These rooms are equipped with a range of age-appropriate games and activities.
A dedicated anaesthetics suite for our young patients who require a general anaesthetic for the delivery of proton beam therapy. The suite consists of induction rooms and recovery areas.
These rooms are also equipped with a range of age-appropriate games for children to use during the procedures.
Our specialist paediatric and teenage and young adult radiographer has additional training in the treatment of children and young people. They will act as the key worker to ensure the treatment pathway and daily treatment is tailored to a young person’s needs. They work very closely with other medical professionals to support and guide you and your child through the treatment.
Our health play specialists are qualified and registered professionals, dedicated to the families coming to UCLH for proton beam therapy. They will support your child and family throughout treatment. They work closely with the doctors, nurses and radiographers, to help children understand each step of treatment.
Their roles include:
- preparing children and young people for treatment and procedures
- ensuring that information is given in an age-appropriate way, by using a variety of resources such as photos and short videos
- distraction during treatments and procedures
- general play and activities during your child’s time at UCLH.
What is a neurocognitive assessment?
A neurocognitive assessment is a way of identifying strengths and challenges in areas of thinking and learning. This can include problem-solving, memory, attention, verbal, and reasoning skills. An assessment involves tasks such as solving puzzles, remembering information, and answering questions.
Why may I or my child be asked to have one?
Not everyone who has Proton Beam therapy will require a neurocognitive assessment. We carry out these assessments with all children and young people attending UCLH for Proton Beam Therapy where the brain may be within the region of treatment. The first assessment will be prior to Proton Beam Therapy treatment so we have a baseline of skills and abilities. Patients are then invited to have follow-up assessments, either at UCLH or at your local treatment centre, so we can track your progress and provide any support or recommendations that might be needed.
What will the assessment be like?
The assessment will be carried out by a Paediatric Clinical Psychologist and will take about two hours to complete. The Paediatric Clinical Psychologist will spend a little bit of time getting to know you or your child, and then there will be some tests and puzzles to complete. You are welcome to bring a drink and a snack along, and we will take breaks if needed.
If you would like to know more about the assessment or have any other questions please contact us on 020 3447 9086 or you can email UCLH.