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First ever Australian anaphylaxis standard released


Matt Woodley


23/11/2021 4:29:32 PM

The new standard emphasises the need for prompt treatment and continuity of patient care between healthcare settings.

The word anaphylaxis.
Australia has one of the highest documented rates of hospital anaphylaxis admissions in the developed world.

The Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard describes the optimal standard of clinical care for patients experiencing anaphylaxis and recommends priority areas for clinicians managing treatment.
 
Developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission), it emphasises the need for prompt treatment and continuity of patient care between acute and general practice healthcare settings. 
 
The new standard also comes amid a backdrop of rising rates of visits to hospital emergency departments for the potentially fatal condition.
 
Clinical lead for the new standard, Associate Professor Amanda Walker, Clinical Director at the Commission, said the goal is to provide safer care for all anaphylaxis patients. 

‘The standard addresses gaps in existing guidelines for patient care, such as ensuring timely treatment with adrenaline and strengthening the process for handover of care along the patient journey,’ she said.

‘Adrenaline is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis and should be administered promptly.

‘But a person who has experienced anaphylaxis remains vulnerable in the community after discharge. There needs to be a safe discharge and clear handover of care to the patient’s GP and immunologist.’

Australia has one of the highest documented rates of hospital anaphylaxis admissions in the developed world, with up to 20 people dying each year as a result of the condition.

Up to 10% of infants and 2% of adults have food allergies, while other common triggers are insect venoms such as wasp and bee stings, and some medicines. 
 
A webinar featuring a panel of allergy experts, including GP Joanne Simpson, will be held at 1:00 pm AEDT on Wednesday 24 November to explore what the new standard means for healthcare professionals and consumers. The panel will discuss barriers to recognising anaphylaxis, appropriate treatment, safe discharge back into the community and best practice care after an episode of anaphylaxis.

Along with clinicians, the new clinical care standard has also been designed to contain important information for families and carers of people at risk, as well as for the individual themselves.

‘It is vital for people at risk of anaphylaxis to know how to manage their allergy, how to recognise symptoms and how to correctly use a personal adrenaline injector if needed,’ Associate Professor Walker explained. 

‘What is new in the national standard is a requirement for patients at risk of anaphylaxis to have access to their prescribed adrenaline injector at all times.
 
‘In hospital and healthcare settings, patients do not usually have access to their own medicines. This is one important exception, to ensure the adrenaline injector is with the patient wherever they are, so they can use it if needed.’  

Co-chair of the National Allergy Strategy Dr Preeti Joshi, who is a paediatric clinical immunology/allergy specialist, said the Standard will help avoid dangerous mistakes. 

‘The new Standard highlights the importance of safe practices – such as ensuring a person with anaphylaxis does not stand up or walk, even after they have had adrenaline – a critical issue that is often overlooked when managing anaphylaxis,’ she said.

‘Having or witnessing anaphylaxis can be frightening, as symptoms can go from bad to worse very quickly. If it is not recognised and treated immediately, it can result in serious complications and can even be fatal.’

The new clinical care standard is supported and endorsed by the National Allergy Strategy, a partnership between the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) and consumer group Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA).

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