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Children with asthma to benefit from educational videos

 A doll is on a hospital bed. A nurse is leaning over the bed while a young girl of about 4 checks the doll's chest.



Children with asthma and allergies will benefit from new educational videos developed by the Allergy and Respiratory Services at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise.  Endorsed by the Asthma Society of Ireland (ASI), the new educational videos have been described by ASI Patient Services Manager, Mary McDonald, as “beneficial as they will also aid conversations with secondary caregivers of children with asthma.”

The series consists of short, step-by-step videos that show caregivers exactly what to do if a child in their care experiences an allergic reaction or asthma exacerbation. The series includes instructional videos on inhaler technique, asthma action plans, adrenaline auto-injector administration and allergy action plans.

Parents of children with asthma or allergies can share the videos with anyone who provides care to their child including childminders, schools, crèches and childcare facilities.

Early recognition and intervention are vital when it comes to the successful management of asthma and allergy in children. While primary caregivers, usually parents, are trained to manage an allergic reaction or asthma exacerbation, there is a lack of information provided to the child’s secondary caregivers. Schools, crèches, sports clubs, childminders, grandparents and family members are all advised to be equipped with clear, concise information so they feel competent and confident to employ early interventions when needed.

Lisa Egan, Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner (RANP) in Paediatric Respiratory at Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise, explained that the videos would be an important resource allowing caregivers to “act as effective first responders at the onset of symptoms.”  Their ultimate goal, she said was to “ensure consistency of care in the treatment of allergy and asthma in children. Prompt action is essential in the safe management of these conditions so it is imperative that schools, crèches, grandparents, and appropriate others know when and how to intervene during the early onset stages of an exacerbation.”

Lisa continued: “A survey by the Asthma Society of Ireland conducted last year showed that 60% of parents felt they were unsure whether their child’s school, crèche or carer had sufficient asthma knowledge. These educational videos will aid secondary caregivers to recognise the child’s asthma symptoms and act promptly and effectively in the administration of their inhalers.”

According to Áine Lynch, Interim Chief Director of Nursing and Midwifery at the HSE Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, the new videos will be an “invaluable tool.”  Expressing her thanks, Áine acknowledged the “fantastic work of Lisa Egan and the Paediatrics Allergy and Respiratory Services team in Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise in bringing this project to fruition.”

Fiona Moore, Interim Director of Nursing at Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise, concluded that “through these videos, we will equip caregivers with the knowledge and confidence to willingly intervene when necessary. The videos will promote caregivers competence, thus ensuring earlier intervention and safer management of children with asthma and allergy in Ireland.”

The project was funded through a bursary to Lisa Egan by Anáil, an Irish respiratory nurses organisation that aims to provide peer support to respiratory nurse specialists and advanced nurse practitioners through education and professional development. Olivia Moyles, Chairperson of Anáil, said they were “delighted that one of the annual bursaries provided by Anáil helped fund these short educational videos to help caregivers. Education is a powerful tool and we are pleased to help empower children and their wider families and caregivers to continue to live well with their chronic conditions.”

Access the asthma and allergy videos on the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group website