Our role is to provide education and support to children and families to help them manage their asthma better with an aim to avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions and reduce pressures on urgent care services.
A large part of our role is health promotion and health education. We felt that we needed another avenue to help our parents and young people feel more confident to manage their asthma and deliver health promotion to a wider audience.
We developed and launched our facebook page, with the support of our Trust (Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust) in October 2014. It has proved to be hugely successful. Since we launched the page three months ago we have 335 likes and the response from our parents and young people has been unanimously positive. This is evident from the reviews posted by the parents.
As well as answering individual queries and sign posting parents and young people to the most appropriate help, we provide advice on how to use the inhalers, seasonal advice such as how to manage your asthma on bonfire night and with the cold weather and snow, trigger avoidance and managing viral illness. The page offers us an opportunity to provide parents with reassurance regarding media coverage of asthma. It provides a platform to give gentle reminders of the need to continue regular preventer medication and has been used to signpost to local smoking cessation services and support the flu vaccine campaign.
The page is checked regularly Monday to Friday during working hours and can be found by searching for HMR Children’s Asthma Service. Our link is: www.facebook.com/rochdalechildrensasthma.
The page has been successful in reaching the wider audience and engaging with parents and young people and other health professionals in a different way. It allows us to have continued impact in providing education after the child has been discharged from our service back to the care of their GP.
Following the success of our page Pennine Care are now launching facebook and twitter accounts across several services. We feel we are making a difference with this service. As asthma admissions are high in North West England we hope this service will be invaluable.