This best practice guideline focuses on assisting nurses working in diverse practice settings in providing basic asthma care for children and their families.
The goal of this document is to promote asthma control in children, from infancy through to 18 years of age.
Nurses, working in partnership with the multidisciplinary health care team, have an important role in promoting the control of asthma in children through key interventions of assessment, education and referral across diverse contexts and settings. This guideline focuses on children who have a diagnosis of asthma along with their families, and includes recommendations for developmentally appropriate assessment, management, education, referral and follow-up. For simplicity throughout the document, the word “child” or “children” will be used to refer to individual(s) from birth to 18 years of age. For individuals 18 years of age and older, refer to the RNAO nursing best practice guideline Adult Asthma Care Guidelines for Nurses: Promoting Control of Asthma (2004).
The guideline contains recommendations for Registered Nurses and Registered Practical Nurses on best nursing practices in the area of paediatric asthma. It is intended for nurses who may not be experts in asthma care and who work in a variety of practice settings across the continuum of care. It is acknowledged that the individual competencies of nurses varies between nurses and across categories of nursing professionals and are based on knowledge, skills, attitudes, critical analysis and decision making which are enhanced over time by experience and education. It is expected that individual nurses will perform only those aspects of asthma assessment and management for which they have appropriate education and experience and that they will seek appropriate consultation in instances where the client’s care needs surpass their ability to act independently.
It is acknowledged that effective health care depends on a coordinated multidisciplinary approach incorporating ongoing communication between health professionals and clients/families, ever mindful of the unique circumstances and best interests of the child and their family. In addition, nurses have a responsibility to consider the safety of the child, and the evolution of autonomy for decision making through various developmental stages.