Purpose: To examine the experiences and concerns of young people and their parents in the management of medication for asthma or diabetes whilst at school.
Design of study: Face-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with 69 young people aged 8 to 15 years (43 young people with asthma; 26 young people with diabetes) and their parents (138 interviews in total) in their own homes. Respondents were recruited through randomly selected general practice surgeries in contrasting areas in SE England. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using established qualitative analytical procedures.
Results: Young people with asthma and diabetes discussed difficulties regarding access and use of their medicines at school, which may jeopardise optimal condition management. School medicines policies could be a further hindrance. Young people endeavour to find ways to accommodate their medication and condition related needs whilst at school, in an attempt to limit its impact upon school activities such as sport, school trips and relationships with peers. Parents expressed concern regarding the awareness and levels of support available to their sons/daughters, in particular if a crisis should develop.
Implications of results: In order to ensure optimal care, there is a need for the development of protocols tailored to the needs of young people with different conditions. These should preferably be devised in partnership between the young person, parents and school to ensure that they offer the flexibility and support required for optimal management.