To help local children in managing their asthma and reduce their trips to the emergency room CompleteCare Health Network created the Breathe Better Asthma program last year with funding from the Horizon NJ Health Foundation.
Asthma is an illness that creates swelling of the airways, which narrows the passages that carry air from the nose and mouth to the lungs. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America asthma affects approximately 1 in 13 children, causing missed school days due to illness and hospitalization. Triggers like allergens and irritants can cause trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing, and tightness in the chest.
“We knew asthma was a cause for concern among our pediatric patients,” said Dr. Jazmine Harris, Clinical Director of Pediatrics at CompleteCare Health Network. “We were excited to start the Breathe Better program at CompleteCare and see our patients learn from it and take control of an illness that can be scary and potentially life-threatening.”
Through one on one and group counseling, phone support and educational materials the program helped over 120 children and their families learn ways to avoid asthma triggers, use peak-flow meters and follow a treatment plan. In only 8 months the program lowered visits to local ERs, as well as asthma-related hospitalization.
“We were fortunate to have a group of enthusiastic and motivated participants in this program,” said Harris. “Patients and their families were excited to take on a new treatment plan for their asthma and learn ways to manage their illness and stay away from things that might normally make them sick.”
Patients used a peak-flow meter, a tool that measures how fast air comes out of the lungs when exhaling with force after completely inhaling, at the beginning of the program and more than 70% had abnormal readings. By the end of the program many patients saw an improvement over the baseline measurement, showing the benefits of the team’s educational intervention on care.
CompleteCare is so pleased with the results of the Breathe Better program that they plan to implement their findings system-wide across CompleteCare’s pediatric locations.
To learn more about CompleteCare’s Breathe Better Asthma program contact Andrea Oliver, APN at 856-285-6695.