overseas school trip

Hi there

I have a 10 year old daughter who was diagnosed with asthma when she was 6 after an asthma attack at infant school which staff failed to spot and landed her in hospital and on lots of medication since.

It took a long time to trust school staff again but her junior school have been very good and kept a close eye on her as her attacks can come on quickly. She is on clenil and Serevent inhalers and Singilair.

She went on a residential school trip last year during which we felt worried but it was only an hour away but the next trip she will go on is to France which is a different kettle of fish with it being in another country and not just down the road for us to get to if she is unwell.

Although we probably won't sleep for worrying about her we don't want her to miss out on such a great opportunity for learning and self confidence and to be with her friends.

We have a school meeting next week about the trip and I am wondering what I should be asking and what is reasonable for me to expect them to do to ensure she is safe.

Is it reasonable for me to ask exactly what asthma training the particular staff who are going have had and ask to see the plan of action if a child has an attack.

Any advice on questions you would ask would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Cathy

8 Replies

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  • Hi Cathy

    I dont really have any answers I just wanted to say how much I sympathise with you, I posted on here last year looking for advice when my son who is 7 was going on a residential trip! Like you it was only an hour away and I now dread him getting older and going further a field.

    I think I would definatley ask about staff training and ask ASAP so if there isn't any in place (other then basic first aid) perhaps your local asthma nurse could come in and do some training with the staff. Also ask if they have an asthma policy and I would want to talk to the member of staff who would be in charge of your daughter so you could talk them through your daughters medication and asthma plan should there be a problem!

    It is so hard when you don't want to deny your child the opportunity but are worried sick at the same time.

    Thinking of you

    Clare x

  • That is a tough one . I am the same as my 9 yrs old has only been away in this country and on his last weekend we discovered he had missed taking his preventer but told staff he had (not their fault I told them they didnt need to stand over him as he could be trusted )

    It would be better to speak to the staff as if they tell you they are all trained and aware of asthma you will feel a lot better and if they are not you have time to make sure they are .

    I , like you , dread the trips but am also glad that our kids get to go on them . Cal has missed out on parties and sleepovers just because parents are nervous of his illness which I understand fully but it still makes me sad

  • Hi

    I know exactly how difficult it is. My main question is are you confident about the staff who are going & is your child happy with them? My daughter 9 is also asthmatic and for months I thought about whether to let her go on the residential trip. I trusted the group leader & wrote comprehensive instructions for school, 2 pages worth! The school have a duty of care to ensure children take their medication. I would also send a copy of their asthma plan and any rescue medication, such as steroids. Is it worth getting a translated copy of her treatment plan into French?

    My daughter came back last week having had a brilliant time & has already reserved her place on the next one. She was sick & lost her evening dose of Slo-phyllin & montelukast but the teachers looked after her and kept a close eye on her. I was worried sick and desperate to get her but they rang me first thing to tell me she was fine.

    The other long shot is can you go yourself or stay nearby in case of problems? Sorry can't think of any other ideas.

    Good luck I am sure you will make the right decision for your daughter.

  • My son went on school trip to France when he was 11. I packed 2 lots of medication (one in suitcase, one in hand luggage) and included antibiotics and steroids. Wrote comprehensive instructions - what he was to take and when, information on peak flow rates (if it falls below a certain level etc), when to give him steroids etc. I also included his repeat prescription form so if he saw a doctor they would know what he was on. Lastly a copy of the last consultant's letter which outlined his health problems. (Phew!).

    I was so nervous (I even geared myself up to fly to France if there was a problem) but the school staff were good and looked after him, and all went really well. He had a great time.

  • Hi Cathy,

    I work at residential outdoor centres in Wales and work with a lot of school groups. I don't stay overnight as that's the responsibility of school staff. I'd say that school staff are better prepared to deal with childrens health issues when they've had a discussion with the parents beforehand and have a written plan of what to do/what medication to give when. I think it's perfectly reasonable to ask a few questions before the trip. Not only will you and your daughter feel more confident but so should the staff going as they'll have a greater understanding of what to do.

    Questions I'd ask:

    -who's going?

    -do they know what to do if your child has an asthma attack?

    -do they know what to do if reliever isn't effective or attack gets worse?

    Write down (but keep reasonably concise):

    -what medication she should take, how often and how much

    -what should be done if she has an attack and how much reliever to use and what to do if things don’t improve

    -that she should always carry her reliever

    Other things:

    -maybe you might like to let them know you’re happy to be contacted at any time if they’re not sure what to do

    -your daughter should know that if she’s struggling with her asthma then she should get the staff (even in the middle of the night)

    -get some spares, just in case an inhaler is lost etc.

    -might be good to have an asthma review beforehand too

    I hope this helps. Lou

  • Thanks for the replies and good advice. I will make a list of questions to take me with me to the meeting and see how we get on.

    Regards

    Cathy

  • all brilliant ideas. might just be a thought if your daughter is flying to have inhalers everywhere with her, handbag, hand luggage, suitecase also with a piece of headed paper from your GP confirming she is asthmatic and get him/her to list the drugs she is on as some customs in foreign countries can be jittery with controlled drugs. i did this a few years ago and it made life so much easier.

  • Hi,

    I work in a school & go on outdoor persuit trips & also have severe asthma myself so I have a good understanding of the worry people have because we have taken children with diffent medical conditions and children with alot of mediction away for 3-4 days at a time. As a school they have a duty of care towards all children including thsoe with medical conditions so they should have a good awareness of many different medical conditions and as asthma is a common condition they usually have a better understanding of this because there is a good chance one of the members of staff who are going have asthma themselves or know someone close to them who have it. I dont know what the medication policy is in your children's schools are but most primary schools ask for medication (except emergency meds eg Ventolin) to be clearly labelled with the childs name & clear instructions on how & when to use it and it is handed into the group leader. This way the staff know exactly who and when the children have taken their meds. Because every child and ther medication is different the staff will also ask for written instructions. Try not to let the worry take over as your child & the staff will be able to recognise attacks and if your child is ill the staff will not hesitate to get hold of you.

    I hope this helps

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