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“We know what we are talking about”: experiences of young people with a chronic condition involved in a participatory youth panel and their perceived impact".

Schelven, F. van, Boeije, H., Inhulsen, M.B., Sattoe, J., Rademakers, J. “We know what we are talking about”: experiences of young people with a chronic condition involved in a participatory youth panel and their perceived impact". Child Care In Practice: 2019, 27(2), p. 191-207
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Background
There is a growing recognition that research and implementation projects should be carried out “with” or “by” young people with chronic conditions, instead of “about” or “for” them.

Aim
The current study aimed to explore how young people with chronic conditions experience their involvement in a participatory youth panel. This panel was a structural part of a three-year program addressing the social position of young people with chronic conditions in the Netherlands. It hosted 45 research and implementation projects to improve the social position of young people with chronic conditions in five areas: care, school, work, sport, and personal strength. Output from these projects were, for example, a tool to improve self-management, an evidence-based method to facilitate the transition to adult-care, and a digital platform about performing physical activity with a disability.

Method
During the program, six focus groups consisting of four to eleven panel members were conducted. The transcripts were analysed using the principles of thematic analysis.

Results
The results show panel members took part in multiple projects and activities, such as assessing project applications, evaluating the progress of projects and organizing a political lobby. They were enthusiastic about their role in the panel. The structural nature of the panel enabled them to achieve personal growth and professionalization of their participation. Consequently, panel members experienced an increasing impact on the program and separate projects, and on national politics.

Suggestion
Therefore, it is suggested that a structural form of participation, such as a participatory panel, is suitable to facilitate meaningful participation of young people with chronic conditions.