An asthma care program significantly decreased school absenteeism among children with asthma in inner-city schools enrolled in the program, according to research presented at ATS 2015. The school-based program “Building Bridges for Asthma Care” is designed to empower nurses in participating elementary schools to ensure that asthmatic children are identified and given care according to the National Institute of Health’s clinical treatment guidelines.
The objectives of the program are addressing the risk of health disparities and asthma-related absenteeism in addition to its related impact on academic achievement for inner city students, according to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The program is a collaboration between GSK, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Children’s Hospital Colorado, National Jewish Health, Rho and the public school systems in Denver and Hartford.
The study included data from 2,224 students from three of the 28 schools in the program. The program assessed asthma control and risk of recurrent asthma exacerbations on 1,268 children with asthma across all schools, of which 464 enrolled in the program. The results of the study indicate that absences dropped 11.75% among children enrolled in Building Bridges compared to an increase of 8.48% in children with asthma not in the program.
Stanley J. Szefler, MD, lead clinician for the program, says, “Our goal is to improve asthma care by building bridges of communication between school nurses, the child’s family, and their primary care provider. These children already face significant challenges when it comes to their education and well-being. We’re working together to take absenteeism off the list.”
David Stempel, GSK’s physician medical lead for Building Bridges, states, “As a company with over 40 years of heritage in respiratory health, we’re proud to contribute to a program that can help children better manage their asthma, so that they can attend school, ready to learn and to reach their full academic potential. We believe this data shows that Building Bridges can serve as a model for school based asthma management across the country.”