The Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists (ARNS) and Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have today responded to the publication of new guidelines on diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of asthma from the British Thoracic Society.
The guidelines emphasise that while there is no one simple test for asthma, a structured assessment can identify those at risk of attacks and mean they can be carefully monitored and the right treatment found.
Amanda Cheesley, Professional Lead for Long Term Conditions and End of Life Care at the RCN said:
“Asthma is a common condition, but it is very far from harmless. Because more than 5 million people in the UK are affected by it, it is easy to forget that it can be deadly. More than 1400 people died from asthma in 2015, the highest number for more than a decade.
“It is absolutely vital that everyone with asthma is identified and the right treatment found, for them. These guidelines recognise that one size does not fit all, and good testing, advice and drug treatments must be available to everyone, even if they consider their condition mild.
“With the number of deaths rising, and concerns about the effects of air pollution, asthma must no longer be overlooked and the doctors and nurses who treat it must have all the time and tools to treat it with the seriousness it deserves.
“Nurses in particular can have a vital role in helping people to manage their condition, keep well and avoid hospital admissions. It is imperative that we have enough nurses with the right training to ensure that these guidelines are reflected in the experience of patients.”
Dr Matthew Hodson, Chair of the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists, said:
“ARNS welcomes the publication of up to date evidenced based guidelines produced by the BTS. We hope that this publication will again put a much needed focus on Asthma Care. Asthma still remains a serious life threatening condition with more than 5 million people affected in the UK.
“I encourage nurses and other healthcare professionals to familiarise themselves with this guidance and seek additional support or further education on Asthma to enable them to give every patient the very best care.”
Download the Guideline here