JamieAction Against Allergy funds two innovative schemes to support children with allergies at Evelina Children’s Hospital at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

Psychology Service

The Children’s Allergy Service at Evelina London sees some 5,000 children and their families each year, many of whom suffer with stress, anxiety and feelings of social isolation due to their allergic conditions. The psychological impact of allergic disease on a child and family’s quality of life is frequently overlooked, and the Children’s Allergy Service is delighted to be able to provide a psychology service to support families deal with the psychological effects of allergic disease.

The Trust has appointed Dr Polly James as the Clinical Psychologist in Children’s Allergy, who will build on her last two years’ experience at Evelina London. Initially the service will operate two days a week, identifying how children and their families may be supported psychologically to manage life with a potentially long-term condition.
It is believed to be the first service of its kind in the UK and it is hoped will be replicated elsewhere.

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 Action Against Allergy for making this innovative project possible.”

Eczema Education Programme

The Eczema Education Programme, a pioneering approach to paediatric allergy care was begun some six years ago, at Guy’s and St. Thomas’s by Karina Jackson, Consultant Nurse, St John’s Institute of Dermatology.

The Eczema Education Programme provides practical home management knowledge to parents of children with eczema. An initiative taken by Karina Jackson, the service was developed collaboratively with the local NHS Primary Care Trust in 2008. It provides parents with two two-hour group sessions, learning about triggers and treatments. Evaluation has shown that parental satisfaction was highly rated, with parents gaining confidence in home management of their children’s condition and needing fewer visits to the GP.

The service, which was in imminent danger of closure as a result of cuts can now, thanks to funding support from Action Against Allergy , continue for another year.

Commented Karina Jackson: “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.”
It provides important benefits to patients and their children.

The support being given by Action Against Allergy to these two projects uses part of a legacy from the late Mr Roland Hill, husband of AAA’s founder Amelia Nathan Hill, who began the charity in 1978.

For more on Action Against Allergy see here.

For more on the Children's Allergy Service see here.

See here for more on the Evelina Hospital when it first re-opened.

First published March 2016

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