Through the Indiana University School of Medicine emergency medicine “Treat the Streets” program, specially trained paramedics will make scheduled visits to the homes of children with asthma. The children will be identified after an acute asthma event has resulted in an admission to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, a call to 911 for a ride to the hospital or a visit to the Riley Hospital Emergency Department.
“In the past five years, there’s been a movement nationally to utilize pre-hospital providers in roles they haven’t traditionally been involved in,” said Andrew Stevens, MD, the principal investigator for the grant and deputy medical director of Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services. He envisions the paramedic home visits as the “first eyes, first warning system for the child.”
Stevens, who is also an assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine at the IU School of Medicine, added that paramedics already have much of the training needed to monitor and treat asthma before it becomes a potentially life-threatening problem.
The paramedic home visits are only part of the plan to improve the quality and safety of pediatric care for asthma patients, according to Elizabeth Weinstein, MD, a co-investigator on the grant and deputy medical director of Indianapolis EMS. The “Treat the Streets” team also will include social workers, pharmacists and public health specialists.
“Asthma was an ideal choice for the Treat the Streets program because there is a big need for asthma care, and it is one condition that can be handled in the field to reduce recidivism rates, trips to the emergency room and hospital admissions,” said Weinstein, who is also an assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine and of clinical pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine. “There is a lot of good science behind asthma interventions that can be used outside the hospital setting.”