NZCT recently awarded $8,000 to Auckland Asthma Society. Thanks to this grant, the Asthma Nurse Educators can continue their important work and help people with asthma in the community.
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world, with one in nine adults and one in seven children taking medication for asthma. While currently there is no cure for asthma, with good management most people can lead normal, active lives. This is why Asthma Nurse Educators - registered nurses who give asthma education and information to all ages - are so important. They also provide education, information and support to people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Karen Little works as an Asthma Nurse Educator, mainly in South Auckland. Karen said, “We have three registered nurses who cover the whole of the Auckland region. The service we provide is so worthwhile as we visit people in their own homes at a time that suits them. When a family is in hospital supporting their child with asthma they are often too frightened and upset to retain information that is given at that time. It has been estimated that over 80% of emergency treatments and hospital admissions are avoidable if the correct asthma medication and understanding of the condition has been given to the family.”
Considering at least 67 people die from asthma each year, the Asthma Nurse Educators still have a lot of work to do. Karen Little says her work is very rewarding and she is very grateful for the NZCT grant so she can continue it. “For example I have recently visited a family in South Auckland. The parents told me that their child was coughing and wheezing all night and because of the lack of sleep the child was very tired at school. The parents thought that the coughing was normal and they didn’t recognise it as asthma. After my first visit the child was commenced on a preventer. When I visited the family again after a month, the parents told me that their child had stopped coughing and was now sleeping through the night. That is one reason why the job we do is so incredibly rewarding!”