KEMH Hosts Asthma Day Open House

The Goal is Control

Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) invites the public to an Asthma Day Open House on Thursday 6 May from 8:30am to 2:30pm in the hospital lobby. Asthma and allergy education and free spacer devices will be provided to anyone suffering with asthma or other breathing difficulties. Adult lung screening will also be offered to smokers and ex-smokers over the age of 40.

Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world, affecting more than 300 million people worldwide. It is characterized by recurrent breathing problems and symptoms such as breathlessness, wheezing, chest tightness and coughing.

“Asthma affects approximately 12% of our community,” explains Debbie Barboza, Asthma Nurse Educator for the Asthma Education Centre at KEMH. “Thousands of people suffer unnecessarily every day because of poorly controlled asthma. Yet people can control their disease and minimize incidents with proper diagnoses, education and treatment.”

While hospital admissions from asthma-related incidents are decreasing, the Emergency Department at KEMH reported handling over 1,500 cases of asthma last year. Half of these cases were children.

Although asthma cannot be cured, it can be effectively treated. Research shows that with proper treatment, nearly all asthma patients can achieve and maintain good asthma control, enabling them to participate in school, work and other normal activities.”

Although the prevalence of asthma is increasing in most countries, hospital admissions in Bermuda have decreased since 1995 because of extensive education campaigns.

“We know education has had a positive impact in our community,” said Ms. Barboza. “World Asthma Day is a great opportunity to spread the word that with proper information, patients can gain control over their condition.”

Norma Smith, Clinical Director of Outpatient Services said, “The hospital is committed to providing support and information to help clients control their symptoms. We urge anyone affected by asthma to attend our Open House.”

The Asthma Education Centre teaches clients how to achieve the best results with the least amount of medication. “Our goal is developing self-management skills,” concludes Ms. Barboza. “Patients who become informed decision-makers play an important role in reducing asthma-related incidents.”
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The Asthma Education Centre handles 300 patient visits annually and provides clients with information on recognizing and understanding warning signals and asthma triggers, as well as how to avoid them.

Patients are taught how to effectively take inhaled medications with minimal side effects and how to use a spacer.

An Action Plan, or personal guideline for controlling asthma, teaches clients to evaluate their condition through breathing measurements or symptoms.

Signs that asthma is not being well-controlled:
• Coughing, wheezing or a tight chest because of asthma more than twice a week
• Being awaken at night due to coughing, wheezing or a tight chest more than twice a month
• Limiting activities because of asthma more than twice a month
• Missing time from work or school because of asthma in the last 3 months
• Using a rescue /reliever (usually blue) inhaler more than twice a week

The Asthma Education Centre is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, by appointment only. For further inquiries or to book an appointment call Debbie Barboza, Asthma Nurse Educator at 239-1652 or send an email to
asthmacentre@bermudahospitals.bm

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