It always pays to have a plan
For those of you who have a child with asthma or anaphylaxis you would have seen (and hopefully have somewhere close to hand) a simple plan telling you what to do in the event that your child has an attack.
It’s not that you don’t know to administer ventolin or understand the anaphylaxis protocol; but in times of stress it’s great to have a simple straightforward plan that reminds you of the steps you need to take, what to do at each stage and when to seek help.
With CF, response time to exacerbation is critical
Ask any doctor what the single biggest factor is in maintaining health when it comes to cystic fibrosis and we bet that most will tell you – response time to exacerbation is critical.
What does this really mean?
Well it means that when your child becomes unwell, you don’t wait around and let the cough settle into something more nasty – you action a plan to try and combat the infection and step up the healthy habits.
It probably means that you get a sputum sample into the lab straight away so you and your care team can understand quickly what kind of infection you’re dealing with. It also probably means that you step up your physio (or you atleast make sure you do it properly!) and you let your care team know.
So what is a sick plan anyway?
Here you can download an example of a sick plan that we put together based on parents’ experiences and also some sick / care plan examples we got from other parents in the US.
The reasoning behind the sick plan is simple:
1. Act quickly when your child becomes unwell
2. Get a sputum into the lab so you know what you’re dealing with
3. Step up physio, food and other healthy habits if you can
4. Talk to your care team about a plan for what you should do while you’re waiting on the sputum results – this will be dependant on your child’s age, health status and a bunch of other stuff.
Here is an example you can use to write your own sick plan.
It’s really important that you talk to your child’s doctor and do a sick plan together specifically for your child. What are the steps you should take? what is the plan for when your child becomes ill?
There are lots of things that can be stressful about CF and as parents we need to find ways of decreasing that stress where we can. We all know the feeling, you wake up and hear your child’s chunky cough and you think “Oh no, here we go . . “ and so the stressful cycle starts. With a sick plan you have an agreed course of action that you can activate whenever you need to. It’s an agreement between you and your care team as to what you’ll do, when you’ll contact them and what the protocol should be to ensure that the response time to your child’s exacerbation is swift.