Continuing support for children with asthma and epilepsy

A successful community project to support children with asthma and epilepsy in west Suffolk has been extended for another 12 months.

Since the appointment of two hospital-based community-facing specialist asthma and epilepsy nurses in November 2014, children and their families have been receiving the additional support they need to best manage their condition and avoid the need for unnecessary GP appointments or admission to hospital.

The project, which is funded by the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and delivered in partnership with West Suffolk Hospital, will now continue until November 2016.

Liz Honeywood, paediatric asthma nurse specialist said: “I am able to see patients at their GP practice, in their own home or at a hospital-based clinic. This means people can access the care and support they need in a location that is convenient to them, and also enables closer working between GPs and the hospital. I have also been working closely with medical and nursing staff across the patch, ensuring they have the most up-to-date knowledge and skills so they can offer the best service to paediatric patients with asthma. We’ve already seen a reduction in the number of paediatric patients admitted to West Suffolk Hospital, which shows that the service is working well.”

Harriet Warriner, paediatric epilepsy nurse specialist said: “I lead on ensuring each child has their own personal care plan. I have also been helping them in the day-to-day management of their condition, working in schools to provide training and education for person-centred care and the administration of emergency medication for prolonged seizures. By continuing this project we can help children avoid an often frightening and stressful stay in hospital and keep them as well as possible, in their own home.  We can also ensure that the effective management of their condition carries on into adulthood, promoting long and healthy lives.”

Dr Rakesh Raja, GP Clinical Lead, said: “The CCG recognises that it can be difficult for children and their families to manage their condition and it is important they can access the support and advice they need. Over the last twelve months we have seen some very positive results and patient feedback on the work of the specialist nurses and it is important we continue to help these children lead as normal a life as possible.” 

In west Suffolk there are an estimated 922 people aged 0 – 19 years with asthma and 283 with epilepsy.

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