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Making a difference to asthma patients

20th September 2017

Jo Nevett from the London Ambulance Service writes about taking #MyAsthmaPledge and why education is key to children and young people with asthma living healthy lives

In London, 4,000 children are admitted with asthma issues to hospital each year, of which 12 die. One in 10 children and young people have asthma in the capital, but less than half of these have an asthma action plan or know how to use their inhalers correctly.

Ambulance clinicians are very proficient at treating patients, who are suffering acute asthma attacks. In the long term to reduce hospital admissions and save lives, the focus will be on educating patients about their condition during the brief time period we are with them.

I am supporting the Healthy London Partnership’s (HLP) #AskAboutAsthma #MyAsthmaPledge campaign which is about raising awareness of the simple measures that can be taken to manage asthma. The campaign aims to ensure that existing asthma standards are met across London in an attempt to ensure that no more children die from preventable attacks.

My individual pledge is as follows:

To ensure that ambulance clinicians in London are aware of the importance of asking to see asthma action plans, advising patients to book annual reviews and knowing where to find resources themselves about correct inhaler technique, so that they can assist patients if needed.

We’ll be asking around 4,000 frontline staff to ask patients with asthma the following:

Ask – Do you have an asthma action management plan or asthma passport?

If so, ask to see it as this may contain important relevant information pertinent to the emergency scenario. If not, advise the patient to contact their GP or asthma nurse to request one as this will help them to manage their asthma going forwards.

Ask – Have you had an annual asthma review?

If not, advise the patient to book one with their GP, asthma nurse or consultant.

Ask – About inhaler technique.

If you witness poor inhaler technique and the patient’s condition allows it (mild-moderate asthma), coach the patient in how to take their inhaler correctly.

Our staff will be signposted to short online videos, which demonstrate correct inhaler technique.

London Ambulance Service has been tweeting about the campaign via the hashtags #AskAboutAsthma #MyAsthmaPledge from @ldn_Ambulance. Please show your support by making your own pledge in order to save lives and improve asthma care in the capital.

About the author

Jo Nevett is Clinical Advisor to the Medical Director at the London Ambulance Service.

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