More holistic treatment is needed for patients with asthma, as charity nurse Deborah Waddell reveals that more people die from the condition in the UK than in Hungary, Poland, Greece and Austria put together.
Deborah Waddell, clinical lead at Asthma UK, said that although it can be hard for people across the NHS to pull together around one patient, a clear plan can reduce the chances of a return to hospital.
Asthma UK statistics show that in 2010 1,143 people died because of asthma, and 90% of deaths are avoidable.
Waddell told the Nursing in Practice event in Bournemouth that nurses have a “duty of care” to make people aware that asthma can kill.
Citing the British Thoracic Society’s guidance, she asked the audience how many are able to get a follow up in primary care within 48 hours of an asthma attack that required hospitalisation.
The nurses erupted with laughter, and Waddell agreed that it can be very “difficult” to get a follow up.
She said: “One of the things we’ve realised is that specific appointment can make a difference between the person coping with their asthma and getting on the right track to recovery and them ending up back in hospital.
“Although we can’t always offer a 48 hour, one of the really important things is for hospitals to have a really clear plan, to know where their roles and responsibilities lie, and what they should do, what their GP or practice nurse should be expected to do, and maybe what the asthma nurse should be expected to do as follow up.”
According to Waddell, who has worked across primary and secondary care as a school nurse, nurse practitioner and asthma specialist, having a plan can make it less likely for people who have been hospitalised with an asthma attack to be readmitted.
She said: “By having that holistic plan in place, which includes follow up in primary care, we know that they’re less likely to be admitted. And ideally, a follow up at 48 hours followed by a follow up at six weeks can actively reduce those chances.”