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The importance of nurse-led home visits in the assessment of children with problematic asthma

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate and identify potentially modifiable factors in children with problematic asthma by a nurse-led assessment and home visit.

Design: Observational cohort study.

Setting: A tertiary paediatric respiratory centre.

Patients: 71 children, aged 4.5–17.5 years, with problematic asthma currently under follow-up at a tertiary respiratory centre.

Interventions: A nurse-led hospital visit followed by a home visit.

Main outcome measures: Identification and attempted change of exacerbating factors so that further investigations and consideration of off-label, potentially toxic, asthma therapies were not necessary.

Results: Potentially modifiable factors were identified in 56 (79%) children. Many children had multiple causes for poor control. The most important were ongoing allergen exposure, 22 children (31%); passive or active smoking, 18 children (25%); medication issues including adherence, 34 children (48%); psychosocial factors, 42 families (59%). The home visit contributed valuable information to this assessment. At the home visit house dust mite avoidance measures were found to be inadequate in 84% of those sensitised; medications were not easily available for inspection or were out of date in 23%; 74% of psychology referrals were made after the home visit. In 39 children (55%) the factors identified and the interventions recommended meant that further escalation of treatment was avoided.

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

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