People with asthma should be given tailored support to help them manage their condition, experts say.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have said that helping people with asthma take control of their own illness reduces symptoms, improves quality of life, reduces emergency use of health services and even prevents deaths.

The team led by the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research at the University, in conjunction with teams from Queen Mary University of London and University of Manchester reviewed results from 270 studies that evaluated the success of supported self management.

In light of the research, the researchers say that clinicians and healthcare organisations should prioritise making sure that every person with asthma

has access to support to help them control their illness.

Patients should, say the researchers, be offered a personalised action plan, with details of what medicines to take and advice on when to seek help if symptoms are getting worse. Patients should also have regular check-ups to review their progress and their action plan should be updated as required.

This recommendation is particularly noteworthy in light of the 2014 National Review of Asthma Deaths, which suggested that more than three quarters of patients did not have an action plan to help them manage their condition.

The review also showed that two out of three asthma deaths were preventable with good basic care and so this research shows what supported self management can do.


Don’t forget that, as of 1 April, any business enterprise that sells e-Cigarettes or vapid products can register itself on the new Register of Tobacco and Nicotine Vapour Product Retailers. While this is voluntary at the moment, it becomes a legal requirement from 1 October and, from that date, those selling such products but not registered will be considered as committing an offence. Remember too, that if you have any products that do not comply with the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), then you only have until 20 May to sell them as, after that date, it will be an offence to sell such products.


The Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have issued warnings to patients reminding them of the risks of driving without fully appreciating the effects prescription and over-the-counter remedies can have on the body and their ability to drive.

The warning is particularly prevalent in light of the fact that, as hay fever season approaches, many patients will be taking antihistamine

medication, which can cause drowsiness, blurred vision and a reduction in concentration levels.’

‘Even though a medicine is legal,’ said RPS President, Martin Astbury, ‘it could still have potentially dangerous side effects. It’s not just illegal drugs that can change behaviour behind the wheel. Common over-the-counter medicines can also make a person unfit to drive.’


TO DEMENTIA A new rapid response team has been established by NHS Forth Valley to support care at home for patients with dementia, and their carers. Staffed by four specialist nurses and two community care assistants, the team will try to head off ‘crisis situations’ and prevent unnecessary hospital admission.

Known as DOT, the Dementia Outreach Team is based at Stirling Community Hospital but provides a service to local people and their families across Forth Valley.

Around 4,700 people in Forth Valley are estimated to have a dementia. The illness may cause stress and distress for patients, family and

carers. The Dementia Outreach Team is available for people with a diagnosis of a dementia and may be accessed through their GP.

The team say they hope to respond within two working days after the initial contact. The outreach nurses will carry out a comprehensive assessment and provide advice, practical assistance and support to patients, family members and carers.

‘The team takes a holistic and proactive approach where they are able to work with the family to avoid what could become a crisis situation and ultimately prevent the patient having to be admitted to hospital,’ said NHS Forth Valley Dementia Outreach Nurse, Alister Edmond.

Intensive support will be offered initially for six weeks and the care and support will then be reviewed. Throughout, DOT will work closely with other local support services including social work and the local Enhanced Community Team.


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