Bronchial asthma (BA) is one of the most common chronic pathologies in children. The frequency of this disease is constantly growing. That is why there are many international programs and consensus for the prevention and control of the spread of AD. Despite all the disagreements of the programs, they contain provisions on the significant role of medical training for both patients themselves and their relatives. One of such programs is described by an employee of the Department of Children’s Diseases N3 of St. Petersburg Medical Academy, head of the Asthma School, Children’s Clinic N76 Irina Nikolaevna Vikulina.
In order to improve the results of therapy and the quality of life of children with bronchial asthma, to effectively control the disease, it is necessary to teach them a certain lifestyle. How a child with bronchial asthma will perceive this “style”, whether he will consciously follow the doctor’s recommendations, depends not only on his individual perception of the disease and its rate of development, but also on the attitude of his family members, relatives, friends and teachers to the disease at school.
To form already from primary school age their own active position of sick children for treatment, joint classes are organized for them and their next of kin according to a special educational program in the form of “Asthma-schools”.
Joint training at “Asthma School” of children and their parents allows achieving better interaction with the doctor, improving the quality of treatment, avoiding disability of the child and reducing direct and indirect costs of treatment. In addition to medical knowledge, school students acquire a certain psychological attitude, which allows the child to overcome “inferiority complexes”, self-doubt and their future. The psychological climate in the child’s family improves, prerequisites are created for a more complete development of his personality and the disclosure of the range of his opportunities for further education and professional activity.
“Learning to manage bronchial asthma” is the basic stage educational program. It was created on the basis of the American prototype ACT (Asthma Care Traning for Kids) and adapted for Russian conditions.
Listeners – children 7-12 years old, patients with asthma, and their parents during classes that last from 1.5 to 2 hours, get acquainted with the symptoms, modes of control and treatment of asthma, learn to make decisions independently in the process of disease management, which reduces the frequency and severity of seizures. Children and parents are taught separately, but at the end of each lesson they come together to share the information received. Each group includes up to ten families. After completing the course of study, each family receives a set of practical recommendations and visual aids for everyday use. The information is presented in a playful way, using the analogy of traffic rules (“driver’s behavior in accordance with traffic signals”), which allows children to be taught how to manage their bronchial asthma by acting in accordance with the prescribed rules. Information is given to parents in more detail using materials of international consensus and modern achievements of Russian pediatrics and allergology.
The program is set out in a methodological guide intended for an instructor (a doctor or nurse who has undergone special training in allergology) who conducts these classes. According to our observations, after training under the program “Learning to manage bronchial asthma” is noted: a
decrease in the frequency and severity of attacks of bronchial asthma;
reduction in the number of unplanned hospital admissions, ambulance calls and doctor visits associated with exacerbation of the disease;
reduction in the names of drugs used in bronchial asthma;
reduction in missed days at school due to exacerbation of asthma and, consequently, increased academic performance;
increase endurance, including physical and psychological stress (additional training in music, art schools, etc.).
A preliminary assessment of the program “Learning to manage bronchial asthma” suggests that it is well accepted by children and their parents and can be used in domestic practice.