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Patients often remember little of what we say during consultations. Important information may be forgotten. We try to overcome this by giving out notes or pamphlets to take away.

Electronic notes have several advantages:

  • They can be prewritten as form letters in our Practice Management Systems (PMS).
  • They can be embedded in templates, which contain practice information such as phone numbers or after-hours contact details.
  • They can be personalised, electronically or manually, for individual patients.
  • A record of the note is automatically placed in patient's notes.

The Department of General Practice at the Dunedin School of Medicine has identified three essential components of information to give to patients at the time of acute presentation. For teaching purposes this has been labelled as Safety NET.

The three components are:

Normal expectation - What can be expected and when to return in normal circumstances.

Emergency signals - Signs and symptoms of a possible emergency and how to respond.

Timely review - Indications things may not be progressing as expected and urgent review is advisable.

The example note below tells you:

What to expect and how you can help your child
How to recognise when you should get urgent advice
How to recognise danger signals

Caregiver advice for bronchiolitis

Your child has bronchiolitis. This is very common in children under one-year-old and is caused by a virus. Bronchiolitis can usually be managed safely at home

  1. What to expect and how you can help your child
    You can expect your child to get a lot better after the first three days, although their cough may linger for several weeks. Medicines are not helpful for children with bronchiolitis but you can help keep your child comfortable by:
    • Keeping your child's environment smokefree
    • Giving them small frequent feeds
    • Handling them no more than is necessary
    • Washing your hands before and after handling them to prevent the spread of infection
    Your doctor or nurse may also advise using saline nose drops to help clear the nose before feeds.
  2. When you should get urgent advice
    You can expect your child to improve so you should get urgent advice from a doctor or nurse if they get worse. Any one of the following may be a sign of the illness getting worse:
    • Breathing fast and having to use extra effort to breathe
    • Flaring their nostrils to breathe
    • Grunting with their breathing
    • Taking less than half of their normal feeds
    • Looking pale or unwell
    • Vomiting
    • Has not had a wet nappy for six hours
  3. Danger signals
    The following are danger signs. Dial 111 or contact a doctor immediately if your child has any of the following:
    • Blue lips or tongue
    • Severe breathing difficulties
    • Is becoming less responsive
    • Is floppy
    • Has periods of stopping breathing

Healthline is available for free, confidential health advice 24 hours a day

Healthline nurses do not diagnose over the phone but will assess the situation and provide advice as to the best course of action.

Call 0800 611 116 from either a landline or a mobile phone.

Your child may need a further check up

Your Doctor or Nurse may want to check your child even if things appear to be going as expected. If you have been advised to have a check up, write the details here:

Check up time and date:
At the following location:
Name of person doing the check up:
Phone number:

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