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Paula Hicks
Centre Administrator - CIHS, Psychology

Biography

My principal area of interest is in developing and researching the use of technology to address the psycho social needs of children in hospital. A particular focus is on the use of online communities to support communication, information provision, social inclusion and entertainment. I have led two key award winning research projects exploring this use of technology, Áit Eile (Another World) www.aiteile.ie and Solas www.solas.ie - both of which have been acknowledged at European and National level for their contribution to this area. In teaching I have also developed modules and lectured to various undergrad and postgrad programmes in the area of Health Informatics, and have published a number of book chapters and journal articles.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Sociotechnical Implications of Promoting Social Connected Well-being through Technology in Healthcare Environments in, editor(s)Guglielmo Trentin and Vincenza Benigno , Network Technology and Homebound Inclusive Education, New York, Nova Science Publishers, 2013, pp41 - 68, [Hicks, P. and Lambert, V.] Book Chapter, 2013

Hicks, P., Grimson, J. Smith, O., With a little help from my friends: experiences of building a virtual community for children with cancer, The Journal of Community Informatics: Special Issue: Community Informatics for Improving Health, 9, (2), 2013, p1 - 15 Journal Article, 2013 URL TARA - Full Text

Lambert V, Coad J, Hicks P, Glacken M., Social spaces for young children in hospital, Child: Care, Health and Development, 2013 Journal Article, 2013 DOI URL

Lambert V, Matthews A, Hicks P, Boran L, Devane D., Virtual reality simulation for reducing pain in children (Protocol)., Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, (8), 2013 Journal Article, 2013 URL DOI

Lambert V, Coad J, Hicks P, Glacken M., Young children's perspectives of ideal physical design features for hospital built environments, Journal of Child Health Care, 2013 Journal Article, 2013 URL DOI

Innovative Tools to Communicate with Young People in, editor(s)Dr. V. Lambert, Prof. T. Long, D. Kelleher , Communication Skills for Child Health Nurses, England, Open University Press, 2012, pp49 - 63, [P. Hicks, F. Binns] Book Chapter, 2012 URL

Informatics in Health Care in, editor(s)Anne-Marie Brady , 'Leadership and Management in the Irish Health Service, Ireland, Gill and Macmillan, 2010, pp317-345 , [Paula Hicks] Book Chapter, 2010

V. Lambert, J. Coad, P. Hicks, M. Glacken, The Voice of Young Children - Physical Places and Social Spaces for Young Children in Hospital, A New Children's Hospital - A new future for children's health services in Ireland, Dublin, 18th June, 2010, 2010 Oral Presentation, 2010

V. Lambert, J. Coad, P. Hicks, M. Glacken, Physical Places and Social Spaces for Young Children in Hospital, Dublin, February, 2010 Report, 2010

P. Hicks, O. Smith, J. Grimson, Building virtual communities and social networking applications for patients and consumers, Medicine 2.0, Toronto, 17-18 Sept. 2009, 2009 Oral Presentation, 2009

H. Hugel, S. Clancy, P. Hicks, The Puppet Portal: Artistic Dialogue and Creative Communication, Vital Signs: Arts & Health in Context, Dublin, 15th October, 2009, 2009 Oral Presentation, 2009

Hicks, P., Grimson, J., Daly, A., Whelan, S., Smith, O. , Solas - an interactive community for children with cancer, 6th Congress of HOPE (Hospital Organisation of Pedagogues in Europe): Facing Reality and Dreams, Tampere, 4-7 June, 2008 Conference Paper, 2008 URL

Hicks, P., Grimson, J., Daly, A., Whelan, S., Smith, O. , Solas - an interactive community for chldren with cancer, 6th International Cancer Conference 2008: Striving for Success in Cancer Care, Dublin, 7-9 May, 2008 Poster, 2008

P. Hicks, O. Smith, J. Grimson, Solas, an interactive community for children with cancer, Dublin, Haematology Association of Ireland Nurses' Group, April, 2008 Report, 2008

Hicks, P., Grimson, J., Daly, A., Whelan, S., Smith, O.,, Solas - an interactive community for children with cancer, Fifth International Conference on Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Medicine, London, 9-10 June, 2008 Poster, 2008

P. Hicks, O. Smith, J. Grimson, 5th World Summit on Children and media (5WSCM), 23-28 March 2007, In:Innovations and Special Projects - Ireland - Solas and Ait Eile, 2007, Johannesburg Meetings /Conferences Organised, 2007

P. Hicks, J. Grimson, A. Daly, S. Whelan, O.Smith., Solas - an interactive community for children with cancer, Proceedings of HISI [Health Informatics Society of Ireland], 12th Annual Conference and Scientific Symposium, Dublin, 2007 Conference Paper, 2007

K. Tierney, P. Hicks, J. Grimson, A. Daly, S. Whelan, O. Smith, Solas - an interactive community for children with cancer , Researching Children's Worlds Conference: sharing knowledge to improve action, Galway, November 2007, 2007 Oral Presentation, 2007

S. Whelan, A. Daly, P. Hicks, Solas: a psycho-social intervention for chronically ill children, health4life - Recent Research with Children in Ireland: Challenges and implications, Dublin, June 2006, 2006 Oral Presentation, 2006

P. Hicks, G. Woods, G. Power, J. Grimson , Solas and Áit Eile: Experiences of developing Online environments for children in hospital, Hospital Organisation of Pedagogues in Europe (HOPE) in conjunction with HOSTA, the London Hospital Headteachers' Association - Getting Better Together, Institute of Child Health, Great Ormond Street Hospital,, London, November, 2006, 2006 Conference Paper, 2006

Hicks, P., Woods, G., Power, G., Grimson, J.,, Solas: An online Environment to Facilitate Social Connectivity and Creativity, International Association for Development of the Information Society (IADIS) International Conference on Mobile Learning, Dublin, July, 2006 Conference Paper, 2006

P. Hicks, G. Woods, G. Power, J. Grimson , Áit Eile - (Another World) - Support and Communication for Children in Hospital, International Association for Development of the Information Society (IADIS) International Confernece eSociety, Dublin, 2006, pp378 - 380 Conference Paper, 2006

P. Hicks, K. McNally, R. McGrath, M. Commins, J. Grimson, Ait Eile - A virtual community for children in hospital, Irish Assoication of Teachers in Special Education (IATSE) Conference 2003 - Special Needs: Demand & Delivery, Dublin, May 2003, 2003 Oral Presentation, 2003

J. Grimson, P. Hicks, R. McGrath, K. McNally, J. McKeown, D. Commiskey, Ait Eile - a virtual environment for children in hospital, Dublin, The Irish Scientist, 2002, 190, 190 Report, 2002

Curtis, E., Hicks, P., Redmond, R., Nursing students experiecne and attitudes to computers: A survey of a cohort of students on a Bachelor in Nursing Studies course., ITIN The Nursing Specialist Group of the British Computer Society, 14, (2), 2002, p7 - 17 Journal Article, 2002

E. Curtis, P. Hicks and R. Redmond, Nursing students experience and attitudes to computers: A survey of a cohort of students on a Bachelor in Nursing Studies course, Proceedings of 7th Annual Conference HISI , 7th Annual Conference HISI , Dublin, 2002, 2002 Conference Paper, 2002

P. Hicks, K. McNally, R. McGrath, J. Grimson, Creating an online environment for children in hospital, Proceedings of 6th Annual Conference HISI , [Health Informatics Society of Ireland], 2001, 2001 Conference Paper, 2001

Hicks, P., McGrath, R., McKeown, J., McNally, K., Grimson, J., Ait Eile, Another World for HCI, European Research Consortium for Informatics and mathematics [Special Theme - Human Computer Interaction], 46, 2001 Journal Article, 2001

Research Expertise

Description

The principal area of research relates to the use of technology to address the psycho social needs of children with chronic or serious illness. A particular focus is on the use of online communities to support communication, information provision, social inclusion and entertainment. She has led two key research projects exploring this use of technology, Ait Eile (Another World) www.aiteile.ie and Solas www.solas.ie - both of which have received awards for their contribution to this area. She has also developed modules and lectured to various programmes in the area of Health Informatics.

Projects

  • Title
    • Solas - an interactive community for children with cancer
  • Summary
    • Each year thousands of seriously ill children worldwide have to spend several weeks or even months in protective isolation with no physical interaction with the outside world and limited contact with their family. They are faced with a myriad of challenges that their healthy peers may never experience. Challenges that impact a child's ability to cope socially, emotionally, and or physically are often referred to as 'psychosocial' challenges. These include isolation, change in family dynamics, depression, withdrawal, loss of peer interaction to name but a few. These problems can hinder a child's treatment and recovery. The use of virtual communities in addressing some of these psychosocial issues has been at the core of some of the research work currently being carried out at the Centre for Health Informatics, Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in collaboration with the Children's Research Centre, TCD and The National Paediatric Haematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Centre, Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Dublin. The Solas project facilitates communication (via email, sms texting, live chat and video conferencing), along with providing a variety of creative (eg. art tool, music composition) and educational tools (eg. multimedia learning games, audio books) in a customized secure environment. Solas is currently being piloted on the Childrens Cancer Unit of Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, and there are over 180 registered users to date, an independent evaluation will be carried out throughout 2009. From the Needs Assessment phase it is clear that there is a need for improved psycho-social services for these children, lack of communication with peers and families and high levels of boredom have echoed throughout this work. Additional requirements beyond the initial prototype leave scope for further development.
  • Funding Agency
    • Higher Education Authority (HEA)
  • Date From
    • 2004
  • Date To
    • ongoing
  • Title
    • Physical Places and Social Spaces for young Children in Hospital
  • Summary
    • This consultation process explored young children's (aged 5-8 years) perspectives of the physical and social hospital environment to ensure that the physcial places and social spaces of the proposed new Children's Hosptial of Ireland would be responsive to their needs.
  • Funding Agency
    • National Paediatric Hospital Project
  • Date From
    • September 2009
  • Date To
    • February 2010
  • Title
    • Puppet Portal Project
  • Summary
    • The Puppet Portal Project is an arts and technology hospital based project which connected children, parents, artists and staff in an online community (Ait Eile, developed by the Centre for Health Informatics, Trinity College Dublin) where they worked collaboratively to design and make puppets, develop stories and perform for each other through the webportal. The aim of the project was to transform the hospital experience for children by facilitating them to access their own creativity and self expression and the benefits are very evident.
  • Funding Agency
    • Health Service Executive, The Arts Council
  • Date From
    • 2009
  • Date To
    • 2010
  • Title
    • Ait Eile - online community for children in hospital
  • Summary
    • Áit Eile is an online community for children in hospital which facilitates young patients to communicate with each other via e mail, video conferencing and live chat over a secure Internet connection. Research has shown that children in hospital, especially those suffering from a chronic illness, can experience feelings of isolation, change in family dynamics, depression and loss of peer interaction. Áit Eile is based in hospitals schools throughout the country and offers the potential for hospital-to-hospital, hospital to home, hospital to school and even home-to-home connection allowing parents and children never to be more than a click away. Through the web portal the system provides access to activities and information, such as arts & crafts, educational opportunities and links to favorite web sites with appropriate content. The security of the system has been a top priority and appropriate solutions have been incorporated into the overall system design. Currently linking eleven sites throughout the country; the National Children's Hospital, in Tallaght, Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, Cork University Hospital, Temple Street Hospital, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Beaumont Hospital Dublin, Scoil an Spioraid Naoimh, Cork, Mid Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, Sligo General Hospital, University College Hospital, Galway and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.
  • Funding Agency
    • Department of Health and Children / HSE
  • Date From
    • 2001
  • Date To
    • ongoing
  • Title
    • Awareness Programme on the use of Information Technology in Health Care
  • Summary
    • A European funded project which took the form of a multimedia presentation to raise awareness of ICT in healthcare. It was presented in 50 locations around Ireland to a pan health audience.
  • Funding Agency
    • European Union
  • Date From
    • 1996
  • Date To
    • 1999

Keywords

Children, health and disability; Health informatics; Health outcomes; Human computer interactions; Information technology in education; Internet technologies; Knowledge and data engineering; Multimedia; SOCIAL NETWORKS; SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED GROUPS

Recognition

Representations

Hospital Organisation of Pedagogues in Europe (HOPE) - Board Member 2006 - 2010

Teenage Cancer Group (Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin) 2008 - Present

European Professionals in Hospital Network (EPiH-Net) 2008 - Present

Irish Computer Society (ICS) 2006 - Present

Awards and Honours

Astellas Changing Tomorrow Award for Innovation 2010

Allianz Business to Arts Awards 2010

NAI Innovation Awards March, 2010

Irish Healthcare Awards 2008

eEurope Awards for eHealth 2004

Memberships

Irish Computer Society 2005 – Present

HOPE (Hospital Organisation of Pedagogues in Europe) - Board Member 1996 – Present

Health Informatics Society of Ireland 1995 – Present


Last updated 4 June 2015 School of Psychology (Email).