Action Against Allergy Supports Two Innovative Programmes for Allergic Children

Author: talkhealth - adapted from AAA press release

Date: Mar 2016

Patient support charity Action Against Allergy (AAA) is funding two innovative allergy schemes to help children. Evelina London Children’s Hospital within Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust already has the schemes underway.

Allergies in the UK are widespread. According to the market research company, Mintel (2010) 21 million adults suffer with at least one allergy, with 50% of children and young people having one or more allergies in the first 18 years of life (Journal of Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2009). The Children’s Allergy Service at Evelina London sees around 5,000 children and their families every year, with many suffering with stress, anxiety and feelings of social isolation due to their allergic conditions. The psychological impact of living with an allergic disease on a child and family’s quality of life is often overlooked. The Children’s Allergy Service is delighted to be able to provide a psychology service to help families dealing with the psychological effects of allergic disease.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has appointed Dr Polly James, Clinical Psychologist in Children’s Allergy, to build on her last two years’ experience at Evelina London. To begin with the service will operate for two days a week, to identify how children and their families may be supported psychologically to manage life with a potentially long-term condition. AAA believes this service is the first of its kind in the UK and very much hope that the service can be extended and offered elsewhere across the country in the near future.

Roisin Fitzsimons, nurse consultant and joint clinical lead in the Evelina London allergy team, commented: ?We?re very excited to offer a specialist psychology service as part of our Children?s Allergy Service. I know this will make a very real difference to the lives of our patients and their families. We?re hugely grateful to the support of AAA for making this innovative project possible.?

Six years ago the Eczema Education Programme, a pioneering approach to paediatric allergy care, at Guy’s and St. Thomas’s was started by Karina Jackson, Consultant Nurse, St John’s Institute of Dermatology. Thanks to the funding and ongoing support from AAA, the programme provides important benefits to patients and their families, including practical home management knowledge to parents of children with eczema. The programme enables parents to have two lots of two-hour group sessions where they can learn and understand more about triggers and treatments. Feedback from the programme has shown high satisfaction with parents feeling more confident around better management of their children’s allergies in the home, resulting in less visits to the GP.

?This is the first reported large-scale nurse-led, theory-based model of structured eczema education delivered to groups of parents/carers, providing an opportunity to standardise clinical management. We have received 5,000 referrals since its inception.? Said Karina Jackson

Both projects are possible because of a legacy from the late Mr Roland Hill, husband of Action Against Allergy’s founder Amelia Nathan Hill, who started the charity in 1978.

For more information about AAA visit www.actionagainstallergy.org

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