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What is ASK SNIFF?

ASK SNIFF stands for Acutely Sick Kids Safety Netting Interventions for Families (or Spotting the Sick Child for Families). ASK SNIFF is a programme of research that focuses on the development of safety netting interventions to help families determine when to seek help from a health professional for an acutely sick child. ASK SNIFF is a collaboration between a number of higher education institutions in the UK, bringing together a wealth of academic and clinical expertise relating to the acutely sick child.

The ASK SNIFF research programme developed from a finding in Dr Sarah Neill’s PhD ‘Family Management of Acute Childhood Illness at Home: A Grounded Theory Study’ and Professor Monica Lakhanpaul’s involvement with the development of www.spottingthesickchild.com for healthcare professionals. Monica and Sarah both identified a gap in provision of standardised, professionally-validated information resources for parents of sick children – a gap that was confirmed in their conversations with parents about the initial project idea. Parents do not want to bother healthcare professionals unnecessary but neither do they want their child to suffer because they have left it too late to seek help.

Why is ASK SNIFF needed?

Parents and healthcare professionals find it difficult to identify signs of serious childhood illness. Spotting the Sick Child resource was developed for healthcare professionals, but an equivalent resource is needed for parents and carers. The first ASK SNIFF information resource will help all parents and carers who are worried about a sick child to identify when their child needs medical attention and support them in caring for their child independently when appropriate to do so, by providing links to additional information. This tool will also be applicable for healthcare professionals to use during consultations with parents/carers in any setting, providing consistent advice and access to information post consultation. ASK SNIFF will make an important contribution to the identification of the deteriorating child by anyone caring for an acutely sick child in any setting.

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