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In Massachusetts, more than 82,000 children from kindergarten to 8th grade are affected by asthma - a higher prevalence of asthma than in most states in the U.S. Unmanaged asthma impacts children’s daily lives, limiting their physical activity and play time and impacting their school attendance.
The MGH Chelsea Pediatric Asthma Program links pediatric patients with asthma to a Pediatric Asthma Program Coordinator, with the goal of improving asthma management. The coordinator facilitates communication and follow-up between the provider, the patient, and his or her parents/guardians to improve asthma knowledge and asthma care, and to develop an action plan to which the patient can adhere.
To improve management of asthma care for adolescent and pediatric patients, the MGH Chelsea Pediatric Asthma Program conducts home visits of asthmatic patients when appropriate.
Following provider visits, the coordinator reinforces the patient’s understanding of asthma and asthma care by reviewing information about disease triggers, symptoms, and medications. The coordinator, the patient, and his/her caregiver(s) also discuss individualized action plans. Together, they identify barriers to follow-through and strategies to overcome challenges such as responding to early triggers, removing allergens in the environment, and maintaining a disciplined controller medication regime.
Patients are referred to colleagues within the health center and partners in community agencies who provide additional assistance with food resources, housing, domestic violence, and other family needs. When appropriate, the coordinator conducts home visits to reinforce asthma teaching and to identify potential environmental hazards in the home.
The Pediatric Asthma Coordinator provided the following assistance to 149 patients:
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