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Nurse Led Helpline

Providing on-going support and advice for families is essential and especially if the patient is receiving immunosuppressive treatment.

Many specialist services offer a helpline for families to provide direct access to specialist advice.

Many helplines are managed by the clinical nurse specialist and an answer machine is used to record enquiries out of hours.

The use of a helpline can be challenging and needs a high level of experience to triage the queries, ascertain the information needed and provide appropriate advice.

Further information on the use of Helplines is available (Royal College Nursing Guidance)

Examples of clinical problems

Assessment focus

Enquiry

“My child is unwell”

Does the problem indicate disease related symptoms or generic childhood illness?

What are the symptoms?

Are there any red flags – e.g. fever over 38o, malaise, night waking.

How long have they been unwell?

Are they improving or not?

Are they on any medication? Note any corticosteroids (dose and duration), DMARDS or Biologics or Cytotoxics.

Has medical advice been sought?

My child’s joint is swollen

Do the symptoms suggest flare of disease or infection?

How long has the joint appeared swollen?

Is there a history of trauma?

Has the child had a recent upper respiratory infection or other mild illness?

Is mobility affected?

Are the symptoms inflammatory or mechanical?

Has the child had regular analgesia?  Have these helped ?

My child has a rash - I am worried my child has chicken pox

Is the child vulnerable?

What are the symptoms?

Does the child have fever?

Has the child had chicken pox?

Has there been a known direct contact with chicken pox? If yes, when?

Is the child on immunosuppressive treatment? Note any corticosteroids (dose and duration), DMARDS or Biologics or Cytotoxics. If yes, then increased risk of complications

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