1st May 2023
My journey with asthma
With World Asthma Day around the corner, one of our team, Sarah Hope, shares her experience of having asthma. In her blog post, My journey with asthma, Sarah discusses how multidisciplinary teams have supported her respiratory health and how she has benefited from extra communication from her GP surgery.
Comorbidities, person centred care and cross function working
My journey with asthma started in childhood. I remember sleep was often disrupted due to coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. On the whole, my asthma has been well controlled for the majority of my adult years. I have an annual check-up with the Asthma Nurse at my GP surgery and an annual asthma plan.
My asthma has been impacted in recent years though due to comorbidity. I have a type of vasculitis that impacts my lungs. At times I struggle with shortness of breath and coughing. When my vasculitis was at its worst, I spent some time as an inpatient on a respiratory ward at my local hospital. Seeing the collaborative efforts of the hospital respiratory team, my Rheumatology Consultant, and then later the Asthma Nurse and General Practitioner in my local surgery, made me so grateful for the NHS and really highlighted how key multidisciplinary working is for patient-centred care.
I’m currently part of a communication trial with my GP surgery. For a short period of time, the practice is sending communications to people with asthma with tips, guidance and reminders to help individuals manage their condition effectively. At the end of the trial participants will be invited to feedback on the experience and if/how the extra communication may have supported them. To date, I’ve received regular text messages with links to information about correct inhaler technique, how to incorporate medication into daily routines and the key differences between preventer and reliever inhalers. I’ve found the weekly reminders really useful and encouraging, and it’s great to be involved in a trial to find new ways of supporting patients.
Supporting young people with asthma
At school I found some types of exercise, such as cross country running, quite challenging. It would always take a while after finishing exercise for my breathing to return fully to normal, and I’d find I was a bit wheezy for the rest of the day. I think Education for Health’s free online training course for those who are supporting children and young people with asthma is a really useful tool. Since the course went live last year, there have been over 14,220 learners, and it’s great to think how many children and young people will be proactively supported with their asthma as a result of this training.
Health campaign tips
A few years ago I came across the Asthma and Lung UK Scarfie campaign. Despite having asthma for many years, I’d never been aware that the cold weather could impact my asthma. It just goes to show how important health awareness campaigns can be. I learnt that cold air can irritate the airways and cause the lungs to become tighter, which makes it more difficult to breathe. The Asthma and Lung UK campaign encouraged people with asthma to wrap a scarf loosely around their nose and mouth when going out in the cold as this stops the airways getting a shock of cold air, and therefore avoids asthma symptoms being triggered.
One of our clinical education team gave me a great tip. I mentioned that I sometimes forgot to take my daily inhaler medication, despite it being such a quick and easy thing to do and so key to my health. It is often one of the things that gets pushed to the bottom of my daily to do list when I’m busy or overwhelmed. My colleague who trained initially as a Pharmacist, shared a tip – ‘keep your inhaler next to your toothbrush’, she said. We all brush our teeth every morning and night, so by keeping your inhaler next to your toothbrush, it acts as a daily reminder to take your medication. It’s an easy way to incorporate it into your daily routine and has definitely helped me improve my medication adherence.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING:
We provide education and training courses for health and care professionals. This includes CPD accredited bite size training, alongside higher education courses accredited by the University of Hertfordshire.
View our asthma course portfolio to find out more and find the right course for you. Alternatively, if you are looking for bespoke training opportunities for your team, then please contact our Partnerships Managers directly at: [email protected].