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What to expect at the safeguarding support unit for teenagers

Coming to the SSU

You have been asked to visit the Safeguarding Support Unit (SSU) because it is important that children and young people are kept safe when there are concerns about injuries, marks, neglect or other possible harm to them.

You may be asked to visit the SSU with a social worker, and usually an adult (you can bring a parent or a carer). Some young people come without an adult, which is okay too.

You will enter our waiting room and meet one of our nursing team. There is a TV and some games and you can have something to eat and drink if you are hungry.

Photograph of door to safeguarding support unit

One of the children’s doctors (paediatricians) will come and meet you. They will explain what is going to happen and make sure you understand the process. You can ask any questions you have. Remember, there are no silly questions, and we know the process can be scary. Please ask us about anything you are not sure about.

Photograph of safeguarding support unit

Consent

Somebody with parental responsibility (usually your parent or carer) will be asked to provide consent for the examination. We will ask you for your consent too if we feel you fully understand what is involved. You are able to consent without an adult if you are 16 and over.

What does the assessment involve?

We will explain each part of the assessment so you know what is going to happen.

Firstly, we will gather information.

The paediatrician will speak to the social worker if they came with you, and then speak to you and any adults that came with you.

We will speak to the adults on their own, and you get a chance to talk to us on your own too.

The doctor will ask a lot of questions, but if you do not want to talk or are worried about something you can let us know at any time.

The medical examination

We may want to examine you to look for any injuries and identify any health concerns. This is often a full body check. We may ask you to remove some of your clothing if you are happy to do so.

Information:

You do not have to do anything you do not want to do. The doctor will explain each part of the examination before they do it.

The doctor will want to listen to your heart and lungs, feel your tummy and look in your ears, eyes and mouth.

As part of the examination we sometimes take photos or videos. These are stored securely with your medical records within the hospital. We will discuss this in more detail at your appointment.

Photograph of consultation examination room

After the examination

The doctor will tell you what we find and if we are worried about anything.

The doctor might ask for further tests to help get a better understanding of what is happening. This might be blood or urine tests. If you need these, the doctor will explain them to you.

You may need to wait in the waiting room again while we talk to the social worker to explain what we have found before you can leave the SSU.

Photograph of safeguarding room

How long does it take?

On average, the process from you arriving to leaving can take around 2 to 3 hours. This is to make sure we have listened to you and identified any health needs, injuries or concerns.

What happens next?

The doctor will write a report of their medical assessment and what they have found. A copy of this is usually sent to the social worker and to your GP.

If you need any follow-up visits these will be explained to you. This might be to the SSU or to your GP, depending on the care that is needed.

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Disclaimer

Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: SFG11

Resource Type: Article

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Western Bank
Sheffield
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

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