The Able spacer is now available with a facemask designed for young children that whistles when the correct breathing technique has been mastered and the fit is correct, reassuring healthcare providers and parents that medication is being delivered.
A precision plastic reed embedded in the mask emits a whistle as the child inhales medication at the correct rate.
The device, shown right, provides positive reinforcement of correct spacer technique rather than the traditional negative reinforcement approach whereby a whistle indicates that inhalation is too fast.
The Able spacer is available to prescribe now with the new mask, at the same cost to the NHS as when supplied with the regular child mask.
In a study of the mask involving 24 healthy children (average age 5.5 years) presented at the recent European Respiratory Society congress in London, 16 children were able to generate the audible whistle, with 4 (aged between 18 months and 3 years) unable to make an audible sound. All children over the age of 3 used the mask successfully, although the 'toddlers' required additional coaching.
The device is supplied with a free app, developed by Dr Tariq Aslam in response to his son Rafi’s problems with accepting a spacer. The app helps children to accept having a mask on their face with the use of an animated game.