Asthma management in your childcare facility

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

More than one in nine Australian children are affected by asthma1. This figure highlights the importance of asthma management in child care as most child care services deal with asthmatic children every day.

People suffering from asthma may need daily support from parents and carers. In extreme cases, if not treated properly, asthma attacks can result in death. First aid training equips educators to provide asthma care for children. Asthma management in child care could be live saving.

New research from the UK has identified the potential root cause of asthma, meaning that a cure for asthma could be ready in the next five years. Earlier this year, scientists from Cardiff University, King’s College London and the Mayo Clinic identified a receptor, known as the calcium sensing receptor or CaSR, that causes asthma.

This research is particularly relevant for Australia, which has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world2.

So how do we deliver the best asthma management in child care?

According to Asthma Australia, responsibility for the management of a child’s asthma should be shared by both parents and centres.

Parents should:

  • Inform the centre if a child has asthma and provide a written Asthma Action Plan
  • Provide sufficient information and equipment to staff to allow them to support the child while in care
  • Advise if there has been a change in the child’s health, or in their medical management
  • Ensure the child has reliever medication available every day, labelled clearly with the child’s name
  • Let the centre know if the child has been unwell with asthma symptoms
  • Conduct regular asthma reviews with their doctor and follow medical advice on medication

Centres should:

  • Encourage parents to provide up to date information about their child with asthma, and keep this information in a known, central location
  • Ensure all staff members are aware of which children in their care have asthma
  • Encourage staff to attend training and obtain information about asthma and how to manage an asthma emergency
  • Ensure the centre has sufficient and up-to-date Asthma Emergency Kits, staff are aware of the locations and they are easily accessible
  • Display Asthma First Aid posters
  • Provide policies that support the staff to act appropriately and effectively in an asthma emergency, including during off-site activities
  • Communicate any concerns regarding a child’s asthma to the family

Childcare staff should:

  • Check that they know which children in their care have asthma
  • Be familiar with the service’s asthma policy
  • Attend training sessions on asthma and know how to recognise and respond to an asthma emergency
  • Know the location of Asthma Emergency Kits and ensure that they take one with them if travelling offsite with children
  • Document the use of medication according to service guidelines
  • Inform family and/or service management of any concerns regarding a child’s asthma

1http://www.asthmaaustralia.org.au/Statistics.aspx
2http://www.smh.com.au/national/australia-has-one-of-highest-rates-of-asthma-in-the-world-20141118-11oybk.html

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