Croydon Health Services NHS Trust is supporting a new campaign to improve the management of asthma and so head off the annual September rise in hospital admissions among young people and children with the condition.
During 2017 Croydon University Hospital saw a four-fold rise in hospital admissions for asthma among children and young people in September compared to August.
Similar ‘September Spikes’ are seen in hospitals all across the country and are caused by a combination of children being exposed to more viral illnesses as they return to school and the fact that many haven’t kept up with their preventative inhaler use over the summer holidays.
So this year the Children’s Hospital at Home team at Croydon Health Services is backing a new London-wide #AskAbout Asthma campaign designed to help prevent children having asthma attacks that could result in them being admitted to hospital.
The campaign by the Healthy London Partnership and NHS England London aims to encourage all children and young people with asthma to take these three simple steps:
- Have an asthma management plan (which will soon be available as an app on mobile devices). The plan helps identify the right colour inhaler and dosage and the time to seek emergency help.
- Be able to use their inhaler effectively.
- Ensure they have an annual asthma review.
Jo Massey, Children’s Asthma Nurse Specialist from the Children’s Hospital at Home team at Croydon Health Services, said:
“We know that during the holidays, routines change and established habits can slip, which means some children and young people with asthma don’t use their preventer inhaler as often as they should.
“Then, when they return to school and are exposed to lots of new bugs and viruses, this can lead to their asthma getting worse and in some cases being admitted to hospital.
“Our service is all about helping children and young people to self-manage their asthma so they stay well and don’t become so ill they need to come into hospital.
“We want to get children, young people and their families to think now about whether they are managing their condition as well as they could, and ask for support if they need it so they can start the new school year knowing their asthma is fully under control.”
The CHAH Asthma Service was set up to reduce the number of asthma-related A&E and hospital admissions for children and young people through providing asthma care and education to families.
Through home visits, the team can discuss the management plans with children and with parents or carers in a more relaxed environment than a hospital or clinic. As a result of the visit, which can be up to an hour long, each child is given a personalised asthma plan to help them self-manage their condition and identify triggers. The plan is also shared with their GP, school and hospital consultant so that there is a co-ordinated approach to their care.
The team offer education and advice to parents about the medications their children need and also use social media, videos, text messages and web-based learning tools to engage young people and help them manage their asthma effectively.
The #AskAboutAsthma campaign which runs from the 3rd - 16th September is also asking everyone to make small steps to improve air quality. This includes encourage people to walk to work/school, to consider car-pooling and turning off engines when idle, using non/less toxic materials in homes and offices and having greenery in and around homes and offices.
- In 2017 at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust there were 7 admissions in August among children aged 2 to 18 for asthma and this increased to 30 admissions during the month of September. A similar pattern was seen in 2016 with 10 children admitted with asthma in August which rose to 27 admissions in September that year.
- The Royal College of Nursing recently urged parents and carers to help prevent the September spike and said across the country hospital admissions among children with asthma treble each year. Read more here.
- The #AskAboutAsthma campaign has provided information for health providers on asthma management plans , and annual asthma reviews, plus information for pharmacies on effective use of inhalers.