Asthma WA has opened Australia’s first Paediatric Respiratory Hub in Perth’s southern suburb of Cockburn.

The Hub, which opened in September 2020, operates up to three days a month, with a second location hoped to open in West Perth soon.

The Hub provides paediatric lung function testing, immediate analysis and review by a respiratory specialist, and consultation with the Asthma WA Respiratory Health Nurse all in the one appointment.

Until now, families desperate for a formal diagnosis had to make multiple appointments with various health professionals, often with lengthy waiting lists. This creates additional financial and emotional stress having to take time off work and school.

The service is bulk-billed and aims to provide a child and their family with an optimal treatment plan for managing their respiratory health, whether it be asthma or another respiratory condition.

Asthma WA CEO Donna Rendell said the Paediatric Respiratory Hub was first established because consumers were reporting their difficulties in accessing relevant services and navigating the health system.

“Currently, in the public health system, it can take up to four months or longer for a child referred to a respiratory specialist to have their first outpatient appointment,” Ms Rendell said.

“There may also be weeks between appointments when the child may experience a severe flare up even end up in the emergency department. It’s a particularly frightening time for the child and their parents.” 

“The Paediatric Respiratory Hub model is the first of its kind in Australia. It’s an accessible, community-based service that coordinates the services of a multidisciplinary health care team and is already making a significantly improvement to the lives of paediatric patients with asthma,” she said.

By bringing together these key services, we are able to give families greater clarity and confidence in managing their child’s respiratory condition while they continue on their journey for a formal diagnosis.

The Hub supports children aged four to 18 years old.

Mother Jess Zlokich and daughter Mia are among those who have taken advantage of the hub.

Mia was recognised as having asthma before she was three years of age and has had a number of visits to hospital.

Jess says trying to manage Mia’s asthma has been difficult. She is now seven years old.

“The hardest part, getting to this point has been trying to see the right doctors and going to the right places,” Jess says.

“We have a really great GP who manages us really well, but it’s been difficult to know the next step.

“We did see a private respiratory specialist, but there are long wait times, and we missed an appointment because she was in hospital with asthma. We then had to wait another nine months for another appointment, meanwhile we were still trying to get her asthma under control.

“Having the Paediatric Respiratory Hub has been great, a one stop shop to get tests done, you can get advice and also see a specialist in the one place.

“The Paediatric Respiratory Hub has really helped our family and given us a place to go where we can get good advice, it’s easy to access and get everything done at one place with reasonable time frames to be able to get in and not wait too long.

“Mia’s asthma is still uncontrolled so through the Paediatric Respiratory Hub we’re trying out different types of medication to see what works best for her. It’s been really good seeing the same people so they can see how she’s changed and what’s helping and what’s not, so we can get her on a good asthma plan.”

Jess recommends the Paediatric Respiratory Hub to other people in the same situation, especially for those who haven’t had much experience with asthma.

“Getting the right advice and speaking to specialists in one spot has been really great and I would definitely recommend it to friends and family.

Carers who have a child they think may have asthma or another respiratory condition should speak to their doctor about getting a referral to the Paediatric Respiratory Hub. For more information call Asthma WA on (08) 9289 3600.

Health Professionals with young patients with suspected asthma or another respiratory condition can also refer them to the Paediatric Respiratory Hub via our website here or by calling the same number above.

This service is making a life-changing difference to Western Australian families and it wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of Channel 7 Telethon Trust and the Stan Perron Charitable Foundation.

To find out how you can support this service, call Asthma WA on (08) 9289 3600.

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