Queen’s Nursing Institute supports development of new approach to eczema

26 February 2014

Eczema ExpertA new ‘Eczema Expert’ package for children in the Wigan borough is one of nine nurse-led projects that will receive support from the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) this year.

The QNI’s Fund for Innovation and Leadership 2014 aims to test new ideas and improve care delivered by nurses, allied health professionals and their teams in the community.  Anne Pearson, Practice Development Manager from the QNI came to see the Eczema Expert project first-hand at Leigh Walk-in Centre, where it is to be piloted this spring.

The Eczema Expert project has been developed by Nicola Broad, Community Dermatology Specialist Nurse for Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust (Bridgewater) with the support of the Ashton, Leigh and Wigan Dermatology team. It is a pack that will ensure children with eczema and their parents or carers receive early expert advice to help manage the skin condition and hopefully prevent it from worsening or becoming infected.

Eczema causes the skin to become dry, red and itchy which can cause significant distress and disturbed sleep. The management of eczema can be difficult for parents to comprehend as it usually involves the application of a number of different creams and ointments up to four times a day. This requires teaching parents about the condition and trying out different treatments which can take several appointments.

The Eczema Expert pack has been developed to support parents and contains an educational DVD about eczema and how it is best treated, plus a choice of five different emollients (moisturisers) to enable parents to find the one that bests suits their child’s skin. It also contains a mild steroid which can be applied to itchy, red and sore areas of skin.

Nicola said: “We will initially trial the pack for children with eczema who are under four by working with Leigh Walk-in Centre, the Paediatric Emergency Care Centre at Wigan’s Royal Albert Edward Infirmary and one local GP Practice. I hope that giving parents greater capacity to self-treat their child’s eczema will not only reduce the anxiety and distress caused by their condition but also empower them to work with their GP to find the treatment which bests controls their child’s condition.

“We are really excited and feel privileged to be working with the QNI over the coming year and are hoping that, with their support, we can make an innovative idea become a reality for parents and their children who are suffering from eczema.”

The trial will examine if the Eczema Expert pack supports parents and children to manage the condition effectively and improve their quality of life. If successful the pack will be rolled out within other areas of Bridgewater to children with eczema.

Since 1990 The Queen’s Nursing Institute has supported hundreds of nurse-led projects. The projects are one of the most direct ways in which they help community nurses to deliver improvements in patient care. Dissemination of project results also helps nurses in other areas to learn from and implement new ideas. Each project benefits from funding of up to £5000 and project leaders also participate in a series of professional development workshops throughout the year.

Anne Pearson, the QNI’s Practice Development Manager who runs the programme said, “We are delighted to be providing funding for such an innovative project.  With Nicola’s skills and expertise it is going to make a significant impact on the quality of life for children, their families and carers.”

Bridgewater’s Leigh Walk-in Centre is based at Leigh Health Centre, (Leigh Infirmary), The Avenue, Leigh, WN7 1HR and is open from 7am to 9pm, 365 days a year. Call 01942 483453. For more information visit our Leigh Walk-in-Centre page.

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