What will happen next?

Summarise the conversation, check our understanding and help me to remember

What will happen next?

  • Summarise and check
    • That we have covered everything
    • If I have any questions
    • That I know what I need to do and look out for
    • That I am clear about what to expect next, what to do if something differs from the agreed plan and how any changes will be communicated with me
    • What will help me to remember this conversation?

Young people say


When I go to the doctor’s, he’s really good. He explains everything to me fine, there’s no jargon involved. But when it comes to what I’m actually supposed to do to treat whatever ailment I have, he doesn’t explain it that well. Like he will explain it throughout the conversation, but he doesn’t summarise it. Like, at the end of the conversation you just want them to repeat and say ‘you’ve got this, you need to do this, this and this to sort it.’ One clear cut way, so you remember everything is to make some notes to take away. Child or Young Person

Please can we have medications and side effects explained to us. Not just to our parents, to us. We don’t just want to get prescribed a medicine and leave. We want to know what to expect, to know what to look for if something goes wrong with it. Child or Young Person

If you ask if I’ve understood and I say no, then try and explain it to me in a different way. My doctor just said exactly the same thing twice. If I didn’t get it the first time, the second time wasn’t going to be any different! Child or Young Person

Top tips from professionals

Show all Top Tips Below

The summary section of the conversation is a great opportunity to walk the child or young person through what’s been agreed, including a timeline of when to expect certain things.

Sanjeev, Consultant

Summarising is key for me! I need to help the child or young person remember the things we have gone through and also the goal we are working towards. I try to provide a little sheet with things to remember or signs or words we are working on.

Toni, Speech and Language Therapist

I get the child or young person to talk me through how something will happen “to make sure I get it right” and I then I am able to gauge their understanding.

Janet, Play Specialist

I annotate the information I give young people so it’s specific for them and the young person gets a copy of my clinic note sent to their house addressed to them.

Lindsay-Kay, Adolescent Clinical Nurse Specialist

It can be helpful when discussing big things to give the patient time to digest what we discussed. For example over that time I slowly drip feed the child or young person little questions to see if they picked up what we discussed. It would be like “so when is it that you are having your line put in again?” “oh right ok, so what have you gone for again?” “oh brill, why have you chosen that?” so it’s like you know the answers but its finding out if they understand the whole background to it.

Ben, Student Practice Facilitator

I try to summarise any actions into “bite size steps” so they are easier to understand and remember.

Marcia, Radiographer

I just recap the main points and summarise any points made by other people once they have left. I like to ask “Do you have any questions for me? If you do have any questions, don’t worry how silly they are just come and find me.” Or I will say, and particularly if it was a group discussion with other members of the MDT “Did you get everything? Do you know what is going on?” “ What do you think is going on?” And get them to recap it back.

Amy, Practice Educator

At the end of each appointment, I ask a young person and parent separately to rate out of 10 how helpful the appointment was. And if it was say, 6/10, I would ask “Let’s think about what would make it 7 out of 10 for you today.”

Anna, Nurse Consultant

I ask open questions like, “Tell me what you think this means for you? Tell me what you understand by the terms…? What do you think the study will involve and what are the aims?”

Shaun, Research Nurse

Some other useful phrases that work for me are; “Can you just explain to me what you think our plan is”, “Does this sound OK? Can you tell me what you think is going to happen next?”

Hannah, Occupational Therapist

It is so important to make sure the child or young person and family knows how to get back in touch if they need to. I find that a lot of anxiety that young people tell me about is what to do if something doesn’t go to plan and who to contact.

James, Registrar

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