Interviews - Daniela Münch and

Peter Schmid- Grendelmeier


Peter Schmid-Grendelmeier

MD Head Allergy Unit & Senior Lecturer

Dept. Of Dermatology University Hospital Gloriastr.

31CH- 8091 Zurich.


Daniela Münch

Dr. phil., Leitung Fachteam

 Centre suisse pour l'allergie, la peau et l'asthme

Scheibenstrasse 20

Postfach 1

3000 Bern 22

  1. Puce First of all, do you have an individual and/or collective approach?

We have a collective approach. Our foundation is centrally organized and offers parent training in five cities of the German speaking part of Switzerland.

  1. Puce What type of patient comes to the Atopic School?

Over a five-evening-training course we offer the parents advice from experts on the following topics: medical basics of Atopic Dermatitis, daily skin care including how to handle flare-ups, nutrition and food allergies and psychological aspects of Atopic Dermatitis.

We also offer a course for children from four to seven years and their parents. The children and parents get separate training at the same time.

  1. Puce How many children have integrated into patient education programme in your department?

We have had 20 children each year in our programme since 2008.

We have trained 40 parents in the same time.

  1. Puce How many members of staff participate in this programme, what training do they receive and where do they train?

We have an interdisciplinary staff of 15 trainers. Each three-person-team consist of

- a dermatologist, paediatrician or allergist

- a psychologist, psychotherapist or pedagogue

- a nutritionist

Our trainers participate in train-the-trainer-workshops. They train the parents in hospital conference rooms on similar facilities.

  1. Puce Do private dermatologists participate in the Atopic School?

Yes, they do.

  1. Puce How is the link established between the Atopic school and the dermatologists and pediatricians in private practice?

aha! organizes and evaluates the courses, allocates the course-material, gives the trainers feed-back and pays them.

  1. Puce Is your Atopic School attached to a network of care givers (pharmacists, nurses, state medical programs…)?

aha! serves as meeting point for interdisciplinary specialists to exchange information and ideas. aha! passes this information on to the patients in the form of brochures, workshops and consulting.

  1. Puce Do you have contact with other patient education teams, particularly those teams working with Asthma or Food Allergies?

Yes, we have contact with other patient education teams, especially those from Germany. There is also an exchange with some experts involved in asthma schools, but only on an informal way but not a structured regular approach.

  1. Puce How is your Atopic School funded?

Our programme is funded by our organisation, but the parents have to contribute to a a part of the costs. Until now, there is only one health insurance, which reimburse the costs, if the parents ask for it. In case of very limited financial resources the participants can apply for the relief of their contribution.

  1. Puce How many participants are there in the collective workshops and who are they (children, parents, other adults…)?

There are eight parents in the five-evening-training and eight parents with their children (sometimes with two or three children) in the course for children.

  1. Puce Who are the educational staff for this programme (doctors, nurses, psychologists…)?

See our answer above, no. 4.

  1. Puce What are the principal aims of these workshops?

We are mainly interested in empowering the parents to find ways of coping with atopic dermatitis. This includes proper skin care, managing the psychological and social side effects of the skin disease and the importance of complying with medical advice.

  1. Puce Do you use educational support tools and if so can you describe them?

The courses for the parents are designed to provide general information about atopic dermatitis and to offer parents the chance to learn about skin care and exchange experiences with other parents.

In the courses for the children we work with pictures, puppets, music instruments, stories and symbols, which help the children to cope with the atopic dermatitis. We also give them things like coolpads, which help them to deal with the itching. All trainers have the same manual and material for the courses.

  1. Puce What role, if any, do parent associations/patient support groups, play in the Atopic School?

Our organization organizes these courses. Our experience is, that the parents

maintain contact with the other parents they met in the course.

  1. Puce What role, if any, do schools play in managing chronic skin disease?

Patients and their relatives learn to cope better with the disease and get additional skills in skin care and to recognise sings of potentially dangerous skin worsening. So the self-management is much improved.

  1. Puce Do you have schemes like the PAI (in France this is an individualised adaption project linking parents, children and teachers)?

Not in that form, but we provide addresses to the participants, so that they can link together.

  1. Puce Besides Atoic Schools, is patient education developed for other pathologies in your country, and if yes, which pathologies are concerned?

In Switzerland there are also other patient education programmes, for example a very successful programme for asthma, but also for diabetes. …

  1. Puce Do you have official patient education recommendations/guidelines in your country?

There are no official recommendations in Switzerland.

  1. Puce How many active education departments exist today in your country?

For atopic eczema we have 5 centers, mostly related with University or large regional hospitals (Berne, Basel, Lucerne, Aaarau, Zuerich, soon Romandie…)

Thank you Daniela Münch and Peter Schmid-Grendelmeier.