School nurses help more children with asthma

School nurses across Bradford and Airedale are helping local clinical leaders to raise awareness of important management plans for children and young people with asthma.

[caption id="attachment_1259" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Dylan Mynard shows off his ‘wheezy child’ asthma management plan with his mum, Jennifer (left) and Jean Nixon of Bingley school nursing team (right)."][/caption]

As the new term starts, school nurses at Bradford District Care Trust are making sure that letters have been sent home with all pupils who have asthma to urge their parents to make sure they are managing their child’s symptoms by getting an individual ‘wheezy child’ care plan.

Jean Nixon, from Bingley school nursing team, said: “Management plans are so important as they make clear what medication young people need to take and when. They also contain clear instructions so teachers know what best to do for the young person during an asthma attack. I would encourage all parents with children with asthma to have one. They are available from your GP practice.”

The management plans are proven to make hospital admissions for asthma attacks four times less likely.

Developed in partnership with the three local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs): Bradford City; Bradford Districts; and Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG; the initiative started in the summer and is being led by GP surgeries and hospitals across the district. They have electronic or paper versions of the plans, which will be reviewed, updated and given out every time a child visits the doctor about their asthma.

The plans provide important information about a child’s inhalers and other medication, and how and when they should be used. They also give advice on what to do in response to symptoms of differing levels of severity. Each child can have copies for parents, teachers, child minders, relatives and other carers, so all adults who supervise the child are aware of their condition and can use the plan to help them manage it.

Dylan Mynard, aged eight years old, is a pupil at Trinity and All Saints CofE Primary School in Bingley. He said: “My plan helps my teachers know what inhalers I have, when I need to take them and how much I need to take. It also explains how I take my inhaler so if I can’t take it myself they would know what to do. I always update my plan when I get a new inhaler or if something changes that my teacher needs to know.”

Dylan’s mum, Jennifer Mynard, said: “Now we have a management plan in place for Dylan, so everyone understands his needs. When a school support teacher comes in or Dylan goes on a school trip, for example, people can read his plan and instantly know his needs.”

The initiative has come in response to high levels of hospital admissions for asthma in the district and as a result of focus groups with patients and feedback from doctors, nurses and other health and social care professionals.

Dr Louise Clarke, the CCGs’ clinical specialty lead for children and young people, said: “Young people and parents of children with asthma need consistent, clear messages from health professionals about managing their asthma. The plans are designed to help deliver this, and also to help young people and their families manage their asthma well so that it doesn’t stop them from doing their normal activities.

“Using a plan also improves the quality of life for the child; resulting in less days missed from school and he or she being able to take part in sport and school activities. The school nurses’ help in getting letters home to pupils’ families is a great way to make sure as many children as possible benefit from getting a plan.”

The letters urge parents to arrange for their child to have an asthma review at their GP surgery and to ask for new ‘wheezy child’ care plan, if they do not already have one.

Posters promoting the plans are also on display in local hospitals, GP practices, pharmacies, health visitor and school nurse clinics.

For more information on asthma, visit: www.asthma.org.uk.