Parents of children with asthma can now attend a new clinic at the Broken Hill Health Service that is aimed at improving the quality of care of their children.
The Paediatric Asthma Clinic is designed for any paediatric patient aged up to 17 years with a diagnosis of asthma, including patients with poorly controlled asthma, patients with newly diagnosed asthma and families who need additional support and education.
“We hope that the clinic will increase the knowledge and confidence of families and support those who may be struggling to control their child’s asthma,” said Paediatrician Dr Margaret Kummerow.
Dr Kummerow said there are alarming statistics about asthma. Each year in New South Wales, more than 6,000 children between the age of 12 months and 17 years are hospitalised for asthma. Asthma has caused the death of 20 children in NSW in 2004-2013 with more deaths in 2010, 2012 and 2013 than in the previous years.
Education regarding medications and the use of asthma action plans are a crucial part of asthma management. Unfortunately less than a quarter of Australians with asthma have an asthma action plan, she said.
Karen Harding-Smith, Paediatric Nursing Unit Manager said the new clinic will provide a comprehensive and holistic assessment of a child’s asthma. This will include ensuring patients are on appropriate medications and are using their medications correctly.
“We will also provide education to promote self-management of asthma and ensure they present to hospital appropriately and in a timely manner. Importantly, we want to ensure families know how to provide asthma first aid in an emergency.”
The first asthma clinic will be held on March 13, 2015. All asthma clinic patients must have a referral from their GP and families will be asked to complete an asthma diary prior to their first appointment.
The clinics will consist initially of two separate sessions for each patient. They will include a full assessment of the child’s asthma and education sessions covering all aspects of asthma management and adapted to meet the family’s needs.
Once the child’s asthma is well controlled and the family feel confident with managing the asthma, the child will be referred back to their GP for ongoing management.
For more information on the Paediatric Asthma Clinic please contact Karen Harding-Smith, Broken Hill Health Service on (08) 8080 1573.
Paediatric Nursing Unit Manager Karen Harding-Smith (left) and Paediatrician Dr Margaret Kummerow.