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Chronic lung disease in babies

What is chronic lung disease in babies?

Chronic lung disease in babies is a general term for long-term respiratory problems which are acquired in premature babies. It is also known as bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).

Chronic lung disease in the UK

Chronic lung disease in babies is reported at about 20% of ventilated new-borns, but wide variability exists between centres, probably because of regional differences in the clinical definitions of chronic lung disease, the proportion of new-borns with extreme prematurity, and specific patient management.

Consequences of chronic lung disease in babies

The following are the most common symptoms of Chronic lung disease in babies. However, each baby may experience different symptoms of the condition. Symptoms may include:

  • Respiratory distress (rapid breathing, flaring of the nostrils, grunting, chest retractions)
  • Continued need for mechanical ventilation or oxygen after a premature baby reaches 36 weeks gestation

Case Study

History and diagnosis:

Jessica was born prematurely at just 28 weeks. Due to immature lung development and a very low birth weight she was unable to breathe on her own and needed additional support from a ventilator. This assistance with her breathing continued until Jessica was diagnosed with Chronic Lung Disease which is caused by prolonged high pressure ventilation. This diagnosis meant that Jessica was likely to require some assistance with her breathing for a longer period of time than first thought.

At the age of four, Jessica still requires overnight ventilation and oxygen therapy throughout the day via a tracheostomy tube. Jessica’s parents wanted her to attend a mainstream school in order for her to access the same opportunities and facilities open to children of her age and ability.

The plan:

Voyage Specialist Healthcare was contacted by the local PCT to provide support for Jessica’s ongoing Chronic lung disease requirements. Meetings with Jessica, her parents and her Multi disciplinary team were arranged to fully understand her needs and to develop a person centred care plan. Both Jessica and her family were involved in the recruitment process which sourced suitable healthcare assistants who could support her needs. Once the healthcare assistants had been recruited, they received mandatory and clinical training sessions from our in house specialist trainers as well as on-going clinical competency support from our clinical managers. The clinical training received by each healthcare assistant is summarised below:

Oxygen therapy, tracheostomy care and replacement of tracheostomy tubes, suction via trachyostomy tube and oral pharyngeal, medication administration, care of PEG tube, replacement of PEG tube, feeding via PEG tube, management of seizures and tracheostomy resuscitation.

Honorary contracts were also signed by our healthcare assistants which allowed them to work with Jessica in the hospital and fully understand all aspects of her care requirements.

The outcome:

Physical and emotional:

Jessica’s chronic lung disease still requires overnight ventilation and oxygen therapy throughout the day via a tracheostomy tube. She is now attending a mainstream school alongside children of her own age and ability. She is also able to be an active participant in class and becomes involved in all school activities with the support of a healthcare assistant who attends to her medical needs. This in turn provides Jessica’s family with respite time and the overall reassurance that their child is supervised by a competent member of staff who can support the symptoms which are related to her on-going Chronic lung disease requirements.

Client and family feedback:

Jessica’s family have reported that they are extremely happy with the care which is provided by Voyage Specialist Healthcare. They are pleased with the level of reliability and clinical competency exhibited by our healthcare assistants in supporting the requirements of Jessica’s chronic lung disease. They also feel happy that we have communicated with them well and have noted and acted upon any concerns which they have raised.

Commissioner feedback:

Very positive feedback has been received from the PCT regarding the speedy response to the commencement of the care package and the reliability and quality of care being provided by our healthcare assistants in supporting Jessica’s Chronic lung disease.

More case studies

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