Partners in school asthma management: evaluation of a self-management program for children with asthma.

The Journal of school health

PubMedID: 16918856

Bartholomew LK, Sockrider M, Abramson SL, Swank PR, Czyzewski DI, Tortolero SR, Markham CM, Fernandez ME, Shegog R, Tyrrell S. Partners in school asthma management: evaluation of a self-management program for children with asthma. J Sch Health. 2006;76(6):283-90.
The "Partners in School Asthma Management" program for inner-city elementary school children comprises (1) case finding; (2) linkage of school nurses, parents, and clinicians; (3) a computer-based tailored educational program; and (4) school environmental assessment and intervention. Case finding identified 1730 children in 60 elementary schools with probable asthma; 835 (96% Hispanic or African American) joined the study. Baseline, posttest, and follow-up measures of asthma knowledge, self-efficacy, and self-management behavior were obtained from the children, and data on symptoms, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations were obtained from their parents. The schools provided data on grades and absences. Each school had a baseline and follow-up environmental assessment. The children in the intervention group showed greater increases in knowledge, self-efficacy, and some aspects of self-management. No differences between groups were found in health status variables, school performance, attendance, or levels of environmental allergens in schools. In 15 schools, an enhanced intervention allowed children and their parents to meet with a project physician, develop an asthma action plan, and receive a 1-month supply of medication; the project physician then followed up with the child's community physician. Children participating in this enhanced intervention had better school performance and fewer absences than the comparison group. Overall, the program was effective in improving children's asthma self-management but not in improving their health status. While the case-finding, computer-based self-management training program and linkage system were successfully implemented, the program failed in creating needed changes in the medical (action plans by community physicians) and physical environments (reduced school allergen levels) of the children.