Asthma Health Outcomes Project
Overviews of Surveyed Asthma ProgramsSeptember 2005
Domestic Programs: New Mexico
Improving Pediatric Asthma Patient Outcomes by Incorporation of Effective Interventions
Lovelace Health Systems
Alice Marosi, MD
Asthma affects approximately five million children in the United States. This disease results in billions of dollars of expenditures for hospitalizations, emergency admissions, medications, equipment, and indirect costs such as lost work productivity. This article describes how children with asthma received in-depth evaluations and education, long-term control medications, and Air Watch monitoring to improve treatment adherence, asthma control, and asthma severity.
Study patients (n = 99) received patient care and education according to the protocols of the Pediatric Asthma Clinic, Lovelace Health Systems (Albuquerque, NM). An education nurse specialist provided an individualized educational plan and one-on-one instructions to each patient and family. Topics included normal lung anatomy, the asthma disease process, warning signs and symptoms of acute exacerbation, triggers, medications, equipment skills (including AirWatch peak expiratory flow monitor), and self management. Follow-up visits occurred at one, three and six months post to assess knowledge and skills, adherence to therapy, medications, and symptom control. Between visits the nurse called patients to proactively answer questions and resolve adherence difficulties.
Patients (n = 80) who participated in the study for six months demonstrated overall improved adherence to prescribed medications and better control of asthma. Adherence to the AirWatch system decreased over time, most likely due to improvements in the way the patients felt.
In conclusion, treatment adherence, asthma control, and asthma severity can be improved with comprehensive patient education, long-term control medications, and objective home pulmonary function monitoring.
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