Asthma bus (2018)

Every year, during the 3rd week of September there is a well-documented spike in the number of children attending hospital or GP surgeries with an exacerbation of their asthma symptoms.

It is unknown exactly what causes the ‘September spike’ however there are numerous theories including poor compliance with preventer inhalers over the holidays, stress of returning to school and increased exposure to germs and allergens.

There were a number of personnel required to deliver this project:

  • CCG Project Manager to coordinate delivery of the project
  • BHT Paediatric Respiratory Nurse to develop programme and delivery
  • BHT School Nursing Team – team lead to coordinate, and nurses to support delivery
  • CCG Senior Communications Manager to support with branding and resources
  • Staff member at each school to support with identifying students and coordination
  • Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust Paediatric Respiratory Nurse Specialists to provide training and support with delivery

Whilst the original aim was to target this at primary school children, advice from Frimley colleagues was to deliver to secondary schools as there are less requirements for consent and older children are expected to self-manage and consequently may be less compliant with their asthma management.

Additionally, the project was reduced from a two week delivery to one due to the cost of the bus being higher than expected. This gave the opportunity to pilot and required less delivery staff time particularly as this was seen as outside of normal duties for the Paediatric Respiratory Nurse and school nurses.

The intention was for 5 schools to take part; using intelligence supplied by Public Health, 10 schools were targeted with a further 6 identified later. Prior to the delivery week, the Frimley Trust Paediatric Respiratory Nurse Specialists provided training to the school nursing team (both those involved in the delivery and the wider team), the BHT Paediatric Respiratory Nurse, and school representatives provided an opportunity for increased knowledge across the workforce.

Additional 1:1 support was also provided to the BHT Paediatric Respiratory Nurse by Frimley staff. 16 The school staff contact (for example First Aider, Matron) took responsibility for identifying students with asthma and contacting their parent/carer to advise them of their child’s involvement and provided support on the day the bus visited their school. The session was for approximately 20 minutes and was delivered in school year groups at five schools in the county.

Outcomes

Total number of students and others who attended the sessions:

School students with asthma 137

Students studying health & social care 20

Teaching staff 7

Access All Areas young people with asthma 2

Access All Areas parents/carers of those with asthma 3 (inc 1 parent who also had asthma)

Total reach 169

It was also noted that the majority of students did not have an Asthma Action Plan with their GP. The schools/ Paediatric Respiratory Nurse will take this opportunity to follow this up.