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Nurses make animated video to help cut asthma admissions

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Respiratory nurses at Hillingdon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in West London are hoping to reduce the number of visits that young asthma patients make via an innovative visual learning approach.

It is the brainchild of the paediatric asthma team at Hillingdon Hospital, which saw 765 children admitted with asthma and pre-school wheeze during 2017-18.

“The animation has been created to support our primary care colleagues to carry out a structured asthma review”

Alison Summerfield

As part of their efforts to reduce the number of children coming into their hospital for asthma related care, they are working to enhance the knowledge of asthma care in the community.

This has involved creating an animation video for use in primary care for both clinical staff and patients to look at asthma reviews, pinpointing triggers, treatment and control techniques.

The animation will be rolled out in the community with an aim to “cascade” it nationally, said the trust.

Alison Summerfield, senior paediatric respiratory and allergy clinical nurse specialist, said: “The animation has been created to support our primary care colleagues to carry out a structured asthma review as part of their asthma service.”

However, the video is only one part of a range of new initiatives to ensure children in the borough and surrounding areas receive the “best, up to date and most effective care tailored to them”.

The team at Hillingdon had taken care out into the community with the launch of a schools asthma programme, which is based around meeting standards on being “asthma friendly”.

To achieve this accreditation, the team ensure schools meet the London asthma standards for children and young people, and engage in rigorous staff training and adherence to guidelines.

The standards, drawn up in 2015 and updated in 2016, require all schools to have an asthma policy, all children with the condition to have a care plan and all staff to be trained in the care of children with asthma.

“Our children’s asthma pathway is enabling early review and interventions to take place”

Alison Summerfield

In addition, schools should hold an emergency inhaler, in addition to children’s own inhalers, and all schools should be able to easily identify students with asthma by maintaining a register.

Since the launch of the trust’s programme in September, St Helen’s School in Hillingdon has been awarded Asthma Friendly School status, with many more working towards it, said the trust.

It noted that the programme helped identify children with poorly controlled asthma, reduce absence from school, and improve results at school.

Ms Summerfield said: “It is hoped that the children’s asthma project within Hillingdon will enhance the care that all children with asthma receive, whether that be in school, the community or hospital.

“Children with sub-optimally controlled asthma are being identified early through our structured schools programme,” she said.

She added: “Our children’s asthma pathway, alongside the close links with our school nursing service and primary care colleagues, is enabling early review and interventions to take place.”

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