Colourful approach to asthma awareness

Monday, 29 October 2018

South Australia has the highest rate of hospital presentations for children with asthma than any other state, a fact 16 year old Ruby Holman knows all too well.

After almost 30 admissions to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) to treat her severe asthma, Ruby has used her own experience to create a colouring-in story book to make hospital visits easier for other young children.

“I’ve been in and out of hospital a lot and have even spent some time in intensive care, so I know how scary it can be,” Miss Holman said.

“The anxiety and fear of hospitals can actually prevent you from not taking your asthma seriously and potentially presenting too late. 

“I wanted the storyline of my book to walk through the typical things that happen in hospital to make them less scary,” Miss Holman said.  

The colouring-in story book, called Ella’s First Trip, aims to help patients at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital learn more about the symptoms of an asthma attack as well as prepare them for any future hospital visits. “I want to help other kids not feel as fearful as I did and make sure they know what to expect during their stay,” Ms Holman said.

The WCH sees over 1,000 asthma-related presentations to its emergency department every year.Kate Roberts-Thomson, a Respiratory Disease Management Nurse Consultant at the WCH, said as asthma is a life-threatening chronic disease, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of an attack.

“Ruby’s book details some of the common treatment and investigations for children with acute asthma,” Ms Roberts-Thomson said.

“Asthma awareness starts not only through educating parents but also through making sure children understand what their puffers are and what asthma is.

“It’s important that this education continues and is reviewed each time a child meets with their health practitioner.

“After enjoying Ruby’s book and working through it together, we hope families can familiarise themselves and learn to manage asthma better.

“The Respiratory team is very proud of Ruby for creating this book and helping other children learn that the hospital isn’t such a bad place to be.”

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