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Nurse led asthma programme cuts hospital admissions

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A nurse led approach to managing asthma in the community can reduce admissions among children by 40%, new London based research has found.

In 2008-09 the London borough of Ealing had the highest number of children’s asthma admissions in the capital.

NHS Ealing, in partnership with the charity Asthma UK, introduced an integrated approach to managing asthma in the community focusing on educating children and their families and developing action plans.

This saw the number of admissions fall from 440 per 100,000 of the population in 2010-11 to 266 per 100,000 population in 2011-12.

In addition 97% of parents reported improved confidence in managing asthma and found the resources and action plan helpful.

The results of the study were presented at the European Respiratory Society meeting in Munich this week.

Specialist nurse and clinical lead advisor for Asthma UK Deborah Waddell, who led the project, said the results proved an “integrated community based approach to asthma care really does work”.

She added: “The considerable reduction in emergency admissions in the borough was in sharp contrast to the rest of London. A reduction in admissions on this scale saved the NHS around £90,000 and more importantly saved parents and children from the trauma of a life blighted by life threatening asthma attacks and terrifying emergency hospitalisations.”

The initiative saw Asthma UK work with 62 of the 82 schools in the borough. Nurses provided direct support for 210 families and approximately 2,000 children  to teach them about asthma and how to manage it effectively.

Additionally, children with frequent asthma absences and symptoms at school were identified for home assessment and received tailored education, an Asthma UK action plan, and self-management advice.

Kay Boycott, chief executive of Asthma UK, said: “This project has been a huge success and we urge other NHS organisations to take the principles of the Asthma UK NHS Ealing Children’s Asthma Project to save money and reduce life threatening asthma attacks.

“Reducing hospital admissions for children with asthma is one of the key outcome measures used by governments across the UK, yet they continue to occur on an unacceptable scale despite successful models such as this one adopted by the borough of Ealing.”

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