Asthma Treatment in Hospital

I'd be interested to know if others have had problems with this and how I could deal with it if it were to happen in the future:

I haven't been posting much here recently as I've been unwell (not with asthma), and I just escaped from hospital late last night and am now totally exhausted.

I was taken into hospital by the little green men from the street - I had been walking to uni so just had my uni stuff with me and the only medication I had was my reliever inhaler - although I did have a full list of my asthma (and other) meds, emergency contacts, medical history etc which the paramedics found (I was unconscious) and passed onto hospital staff, plus all my info comes up on hosp. computer as I have different consultants working with me and quite a complex medical history.

Although I was in hospital quite a few days (and have been in the same hospital with my asthma repeatedly so they do know me), my correct medications were never obtained for me (and most of the staff, when I asked, didn't see it as important - this was not a resp. ward and my 'presenting complaint' was not asthma - one nurse was a bit concerned and asked what would happen if I didn't have one of my inhalers - ""well, it's a long acting broncodilator so it keeps my airways open, so if I don't have it....""), I didn't have my singular, they had no access to a spacer for me to take the steroid inhaler they did find (and I'm on a high dose and have been told by my consultant I must take it through a spacer), I wasn't able to wash my mouth out after taking this as I was wired up and not allowed out of bed - again they said they were sure it wouldn't matter, and at no stage was my asthma monitored - at home I do peak flows twice a day (and more if things aren't right) - they didn't even have a peak flow meter. (BTW, this is a large London hospital, not some tiny rural hospital that might be forgiven for not having access to everything).

I feel very let down. I've really struggled since last September to get control over my asthma and felt I was getting there - my consultant was really happy with my progress when I saw him last month. Having had only limited meds (and some incorrect - I have just checked box) and been under a lot of stress, I'm not surprised that when I did my peak flow last night and again this morning it is well down - I'm keeping a close eye on it, have a GP appt after bank holiday and will go to A&E if it drops further or doesn't begin to pick up because I'm not taking any chances - but I'm annoyed to be in this situation.

Is it normal for non-asthma specialist nurses/docs/wards not to take asthma seriously in hospital? I'm concerned because this could have been serious. I don't know what I can do to ensure it doesn't happen again - it would be impractical to carry around all my asthma meds, spacers and peak flow meter everywhere I went 'just in case', I have everything written down and it's on hosp. computers - what more can I do?

8 Replies

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  • Hi Ratty,

    Sorry you have had a rough time recently!

    Firstly, I always carry with me a treatment protocol with all meds on and also states... Ensure ALL meds are written up on the drugs chart... etc.

    You could also state that they are essential drugs. Also, ensure your protocol is clear, well laid out but has all info on with contact names and numbers if needed. eg which doc looks after which problem etc.

    I asume no one was available to bring your meds in for you? I alwasy keep my meds in a bag so someone can grab it if I end up in A&E wirthout it.

    I do keep a couple of uniphylline & singulair tablets in my hand bag incase the worse happens! Doesn't take up much more room with all my other clobber - just buys 24 hrs to get med bag.

    With your history of other medical conditions, you need to get your resp Consultant talking to the other consultants etc. Speak to them about the singulair issue.

    I often talk to my cons about side effects from asthma meds.... namely prednisolone at the moment ( grrr, horrid stuff!) And If I don't get answers from ortho peeps I will contact him - plus he is the medical director!

    I have had issues in the past when taken in to different hospitals without my drugs bag in tow.

    I hope ths helps a bit!

    Take care

    Kate

  • Hi,

    I also have all my meds to hand, not only do I have a small medical bag with all my meds in and epi-pens in my handbag at all times but my hospital bag at home which is always packed and therefore easy for my hubby to just pick up and not have to worry about has a bright yellow medical bag in it, which has everything I need in dupliacte, I use this when I go away on hols as its easy to spot if I was say on my won on a plane etc and taken ill, so regularily swap things over when I get a repeat prescription so that stuff in it is always in date, therefore I have what I need on the spot with me and back-up arrives with hubby etc...

    I think when you have been caught out before you get much wiser and much more preapred to do it all yourself!

    Snowy

  • Thanks both - I had a list of all my meds and they were able to bring this and consultants' letters up on computer and they also contacted my GP who faxed through further info, but the issue was that the hospital didn't follow this and I really wasn't feeling well enough for an argument.

    I think having limited supplies of tablets etc on me might work - not so possible with spacer and peak flow meter.

    Unfortunately it wasn't the hospital nearest to where I live and I didn't have anyone who could bring stuff in as I do have all my meds and info up to date in an easily identifiable box in my room - just no-one to get them for me.

    I'm just really shocked that the hospital didn't follow what was written down in black and white. :(

  • Hey,

    Sounds like your've had a really tough time! I have to say I'm very lucky, the once I was admitted into hospital with a reason other than my asthma, the asthma nurses still came to see me and to take my peak flow. I know this was probably because it was in my own hospital where they know how bed my asthma can be, but the asthma nurses made sure I had all my meds, peak flow and spacer for my asthma. Do you think in future you could ask to see an asthma nurse, if there not dealing with your asthma correctly?

    ally

  • Hi ally, I think that's a really good idea - my asthma nurse covers both that hospital and the one I see my consultant at so should be possible. I shall remember this if I end up captured again (I hope I don't...).

    I might drop my asthma nurse an email actually let her know what's happened as she might be able to kick some people for me :D

  • Sorry to hear you've had a rough time lately. For me, even if im in hospital with asthma they don't follow my meds list. When I was captured a few weeks ago, my consultant was away and they didn't give me any of my normal meds apart from ventolin, pred and atrovent. They gave me flexotide instead of seretide and they didnt give me klacid even though I had all my meds with me. I told the nurses and dr.s that I was on seretide not flexotide but they all seemed to think it didnt make a difference!

    The other annoying thing is they never check my peak flow! Only 2 admissions out of 12 for asthma have they ever checked my peak flow. They are quiet happy to discharge me as long as my oxygen sats are up, my breathing isnt to laboured and they cant hear a wheeze. I get home, check my peak flow an its down around 160-200 !!

    However the one time I was in A & E for something other than asthma, the dr wrote up all my meds correctly and told the nurse to let me look after my asthma because I knew my lungs better than anyone else. I found this worked well and I could have a neb when ever I needed.

    Anyway enough complaining!

    Hope your feeling better soon,

    Kate

  • Wow! How different two hospitals can be. I managed to stay escaped for a whole 36 hours before the Green Men captured me again but I was taken to the hospital closest to where I live (another large London hospital) - again I wasn't in with my asthma.

    This time, the doc in resus made sure all my meds were noted, I had them all when they were needed, and I was given everything to monitor my asthma and do my asthma meds myself on the ward :) It was made clear when the nurses changed shifts that I was doing these myself and this was all OK. I'm just astonished that there can be such a difference between hospitals - I would have thought there would be a national policy for managing asthma in hospital when it's not the presenting complaint - after all, the nurses are always going round checking blood sugars for patients who are diabetic, so why are patients with other ongoing illnesses not given the same care/treatment?

  • hospital treatment

    hi sorry you have been unwell its not me that has asthma its my daughter and like you her medical history is complicated we have found exactly the same i live 35 miles from our local hospital and i had to leave her to go home and get her meds as they didnt have them there [so they said] and so i went to get them i now carry everything with me so i dont have any problems they too didnt check her peak flow i think its appalling why are they letting people suffer when we were in i dont know why we were there they left me to do it all the only time we saw them was when they checked her obs

    take care

    marie

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