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To ensure that North Melbourne Primary School including the North Melbourne Primary School – new campus (interim name) appropriately supports students diagnosed with asthma.
To explain to North Melbourne Primary School parents/carers, staff and students the processes and
procedures in place to support students diagnosed with asthma.
This policy applies to:
• all staff of all campuses, including casual relief staff, contractors and volunteers
• all students of all campuses, who have been diagnosed with asthma or who may require emergency
treatment for asthma and their parents/carers.
Asthma is a long-term lung condition. People with asthma have sensitive airways in their lungs which react to triggers, causing a ‘flare-up’. In a flare-up, the muscles around the airway squeeze tight, the airways swell and become narrow and there is more mucus. This makes it hard to breathe. An asthma flare-up can come on slowly (over hours, days or even weeks) or very quickly (over minutes). A sudden or severe asthma flare-up is sometimes called an asthma attack.
Symptoms of asthma can vary over time and often vary from person to person. The most common asthma symptoms are:
• wheezing (a whistling noise from the chest)
• tight feeling in the chest
• persistent cough
Symptoms often occur at night, early in the morning or during/just after physical activity. If asthma is well
controlled, a person should only have occasional asthma symptoms.
A trigger is something that sets off or starts asthma symptoms. Everyone with asthma has different triggers. For most people with asthma, triggers are only a problem when asthma is not well controlled with medication.
Common asthma triggers include:
• exercise • colds/flu
• smoke (cigarette smoke, wood smoke from open fires, burn-offs or bushfires)
• weather changes such as thunderstorms and cold, dry air
• house dust mites • moulds
• pollens • animals such as cats and dogs
• chemicals such as household cleaning products
• deodorants (including perfumes, aftershaves, hair spray and aerosol deodorant sprays)
• food chemicals/additives • certain medications (including aspirin and anti-inflammatories)
• laughter or emotions, such as stress
If a student diagnosed with asthma enrols at North Melbourne Primary School or at the North Melbourne Primary School – new campus (interim name):
- Parents/carers must provide the school with an Asthma Action Plan which has been completed by the student’s medical practitioner. The plan must outline:
o the prescribed medication taken by the student and when it isto be administered, for example
as a pre-medication to exercise or on a regular basis
o emergency contact details
o the contact details of the student’s medical practitioner
o the student’s known triggers
o the emergency procedures to be taken in the event of an asthma flare-up or attack
- Parents/carers should also provide a photo of the student to be included as part of the student’s
Asthma Action Plan.
- North Melbourne Primary School will keep all Asthma Action Plans:
o Main Campus – in the First Aid Room, on the student’s Compass medical file and their classroom teacher will have a copy
o Additional Campus – in the First Aid Room, on the student’s Compass medical file and their
classroom teacher will have a copy
- School staff may also work with parents/carers to develop a Student Health Support Plan which will
include details on:
o how the school will provide support for the student
o identify specific strategies
o allocate staff to assist the student
Any Student Health Support Plan will be developed in accordance with North Melbourne Primary
School ’s Healthcare Needs Policy.
- If a student diagnosed with asthma is going to attend a school camp or excursion, North Melbourne
Primary School parents/carers are required to provide any updated medical information.
- If a student’s asthma condition or treatment requirements change, parents/carers must notify the
school and provide an updated Asthma Action Plan.
- School staff will work with parents/carers to review Asthma Action Plans(and Student Health Support School Plans) on an annual basis, or as prescribed by their doctor in their Asthma Action Plan.
Student asthma kit
All students diagnosed with asthma are required to have a student asthma kit at school which contains:
• their own prescribed reliever medication labelled with the student’s name
• their spacer (if they use one)
Student asthma kits will be stored:
• NMPS Main campus – in the First Aid room
• North Melbourne Primary School – new campus (interim name) – in the First Aid room
Asthma emergency response plan
If a student is:
• having an asthma attack
• difficulty breathing for an unknown cause, even if they are not known to have asthma
School staff will endeavour to follow the Asthma First Aid procedures outlined in the table below. School staff may contact Triple Zero “000” at any time.
- Sit the person upright
• Be calm and reassuring
• Do not leave them alone
• Seek assistance from another staff member or reliable student to locate the student’s
reliever, the Asthma Emergency Kit and the student’s Asthma Action Plan (if available).
• If the student’s action plan is not immediately available, use the Asthma First Aid as
described in Steps 2 to 5.
- Give 4 separate puffs of blue or blue/grey reliever puffer:
• Shake the puffer
• Use a spacer if you have one
• Put 1 puff into the spacer
• Take 4 breaths from the spacer
Remember – Shake, 1 puff, 4 breaths
- Wait 4 minutes
• If there is no improvement, give 4 more separate puffs of blue/grey reliever as above
(or give 1 more dose of Bricanyl or Symbiocort inhaler)
- If there is still no improvement, call Triple Zero “000” and ask for an ambulance.
• Tell the operator the student is having an asthma attack
• Keep giving 4 separate puffs every 4 minutes until emergency assistance arrives
(or 1 dose of Bricanyl or Symbicort every 4 minutes – up to 3 doses of Symbicort)
- If asthma is relieved after administering Asthma First Aid, stop the treatment and observe the
student. Notify the student’s emergency contact person and record the incident
Staff will call Triple Zero “000” immediately if:
• the person is not breathing
• if the person’s asthma suddenly becomes worse or is not improving
• if the person is having an asthma attack and a reliever is not available
• if they are not sure if it is asthma
• if the person is known to have anaphylaxis
Training for staff
North Melbourne Primary School including North Melbourne Primary School – new campus (interim name) will arrange the following asthma management training for staff:
Group 1: General Staff
School staff with a direct teaching role with students affected by asthma or other school staff directed by the principal after conducting a risk assessment.
Course: Asthma first aid management for education staff (non- accredited), one hour face-to-face or online training. Provided by Asthma Australia free to all schools. Valid for 3 years.
Group 2: Specific Staff
Staff working with high risk children with a history of severe asthma, or with direct student wellbeing responsibility, (including nurses, PE/sport teachers, first aid and school staff attending camp). Course in Asthma Awareness 10760NAT (accredited). Any RTO that has this course in their scope of practice. Paid by North Melbourne Primary School. Valid for 3 years.
North Melbourne Primary School will also conduct an annual briefing and training for staff on:
• the procedures outlined in this policy
• the causes, symptoms and treatment of asthma
• identities of the students diagnosed with asthma
• how to use a puffer and spacer
• the location of:
o the Asthma Emergency Kits
o asthma medication which has been provided by parents for student use
North Melbourne Primary School including North Melbourne Primary School – new campus (interim name) will also provide this policy to casual relief staff and volunteers who will be working with students, and may also provide a briefing if the principal decides it is necessary depending on the nature of the work being performed.
Asthma Emergency Kit
North Melbourne Primary School including North Melbourne Primary School – new campus (interim name) will provide and maintain at least two Asthma Emergency Kits. There will be kits that will be kept on school premises:
• Main Campus – the First Aid Room
• Additional Campus – the First Aid Room
Each campus will also have another kit available for mobile activities such as:
• yard duty
• camps and excursions
North Melbourne Primary School also has multiple asthma kits located around the school to ensure quick
access if required. Additional kits are stored:
• Main Campus – centrally located within each building
• Additional Campus – centrally located on each level
The Asthma Emergency Kit will contain:
• at least 1 blue or blue/grey reliever medication such as Airomir, Asmol or Ventolin
• at least 2 spacer devices (for single person use only) to assist with effective inhalation of the blue or
blue/grey reliever medication (North Melbourne Primary School including North Melbourne Primary School – new campus (interim name) will ensure spare spacers are available as replacements).
Spacers will be stored in a dust proof container.
• clear written instructions on Asthma First Aid, including:
o how to use the medication and spacer devices
o steps to be taken in treating an asthma attack
• A record sheet/log for recording the details of an asthma first aid incident, such as the number of puffs
The school nurse will monitor and maintain the Asthma Emergency Kits. They will:
• ensure all contents are maintained and replaced where necessary
• regularly check the expiry date on the canisters of the blue or blue/grey reliever puffers and place
them if they have expired or a low on doses
• replace spacers in the Kits after each use (spacers are single-person use only)
• dispose of any previously used spacers.
The blue or blue/grey reliever medication in the Asthma Emergency Kits may be used by more than one
student as long as they are used with a spacer. If the devices come into contact with someone’s mouth, they will not be used again and will be replaced.
After each use of a blue or blue/grey reliever (with a spacer):
• remove the metal canister from the puffer (do not wash the canister)
• wash the plastic casing
• rinse the mouthpiece through the top and bottom under running water for at least 30 seconds
• wash the mouthpiece cover
• air dry then reassemble
• test the puffer to make sure no water remains in it, then return to the Asthma Emergency Kit.
Management of confidential medical information
Confidential medical information provided to North Melbourne Primary School and including North
Melbourne Primary School – new campus (interim name) to support a student diagnosed with asthma will be:
• recorded on the student’s file, electronically accessible via Compass
• shared with all relevant staff so that they are able to properly support students diagnosed with asthma
and respond appropriately if necessary. Staff are given a folder which outlines all students in their
cohort with additional medical needs. This is not on display within the classroom for privacy reasons.
Epidemic Thunderstorm Asthma
North Melbourne Primary School will be prepared to act on the warnings and advice from the Department of Education and Training when the risk of epidemic thunderstorm asthma is forecast as high.
This policy will be available on North Melbourne Primary School’s website so that parents and other members of the school community can easily access information about North Melbourne Primary School’s asthma management procedures. It will also be included in staff induction processes and staff training.
FURTHER INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
• The Department’s Policy and Advisory Library (PAL):
o Treating an asthma attack
• Related policies:
o Medication Administration Policy
o First Aid Policy
o Health Care Needs Policy
o Medication Administration Log
o Medication Authority Form
POLICY REVIEW AND APPROVAL
Policy last reviewed April 2022
Approved by Principal
Next scheduled review date April 2023 to ensure ongoing relevance and continuous improvement, this policy will be reviewed annually.