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Home visits help asthma sufferers

Nurses making home visits to children with asthma can help to stop half of those affected from needing more serious treatment in the future, research in the Archives of Disease in Childhood has revealed.

A low-dose inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) is used by most children with asthma to cope with their condition, but 5 to 10% continue to have symptoms and some go on to need more serious treatment.

Researchers from the Royal Brompton Hospital and Imperial College London are sure that this figure can be cut down by nurses demonstrating ways to improve their home environment after examining 71 children, aged 4.5 to 17.5 years old.

Between February 2005 and June 2008 they organised home visits by one of two paediatric nurses, who looked at allergen exposure, smoking, adherence to medication and psychological issues.

In 79% of the children's homes they found modifiable factors and the main reasons for poor control were the lack of necessary action to stop dust mites in 84% of homes and not enough adherence to medication guidelines in 48% of cases.

The researchers said: "Nurse-led assessments including a home visit can help identify potentially modifiable factors for poorly controlled symptoms in children with problematic asthma."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Archives of Disease in Childhood

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"I feel home visits are crucial to getting the compliance and adherence to medicine control and asthma management. By visiting at the home you are providing parents with the opportunity to provide advice on subtle changes in the environment that you would not be able to capture in a clinic setting. Parents are far more honest in there own environment. My role is reducing emergency rates to A&E in children with asthma and I do all my visits in the home and it has shown to be successful and welcomed by the parents" - D Allcock, Cheshire

"I am an unusual combination, a Health Visitor and asthma and allergy trained. I give advice in the home as part of my work as a HV, I am also smoking cessation trained, however I am going to retire because of our PCT's attitude towards HVs in our area, recording everything minute by minute and tied to my desk by form filling and audits is not what I trained for many years ago. Suddenly house and dog sitting looks very
appealing!" - Anne Evans, West Sussex

"As a nurse and mother of a child with asthma who has been in ICU this should be offered, as on his discharge it was left for me, the mother, to contact the GP, asthma nurse and the follow up with hospital in 8 months" - Suzanne, Glasgow

"Would totally agree. Also a home visit is important to spot any animals, allergens etc, which may be relevant to future treatment" - M Cameron, North Ayrshire

"I would very much agree, health education advice and support on a more one-to-one basis which takes place within the home can be more effective for parents and their children" - V Henry, London