Evaluating Asthma in 3rd and 4th Graders

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Mary Eve Rice, MSN, DNP-S, CPNP-C
School of Nursing, Austin Peay State University, clarksville, TN, USA

Asthma related morbidity and mortality, is an increasing concern for our nation.  It is the third leading cause of hospitalization in children less than 15 years of age, and the leading cause of absenteeism from school which can negatively affect students’ academic performance.  In 2008, asthma accounted for about 14.4 million lost school days.  Missed school days for children lead to missed days from work for their caregivers.  According to the CDC (2013), approximately 3 children in a class of 30 will have asthma and about nine people die from asthma each day.  In the last decade, the proportion of people with asthma in the United States grew by nearly 15% (CDC, 2013).   In 2009, asthma caused:  479,000 hospitalizations, 1.9 million emergency room visits, and 8.9 million doctor visits bringing the average cost of asthma management above 20 billion dollars annually, (CDC, 2013). Failure to comply with the often time complex medical regimen required for asthma management is a major contributor to asthma associated problems.

Educating families of children with asthma through school health asthma education programs can help improve compliance with their asthma therapeutic plan thereby decrease overall absenteeism, and improve the well-being of student’s with asthma, (CDC, 2008).

The purpose of this capstone project is to help move the asthma programming at Byrns Darden Elementary closer to achieving the NAEPP recommendations for asthma by implementing an after school asthma education program for third and fourth grade students and their parents or caregivers.  At Byrns Darden Elementary school, asthma action plans are in place but currently no education initiatives have been implemented specifically for students with asthma or their families. The intent of the education program is two-fold. First, it is designed to provide children and parents with knowledge that will help them better comply with the prescribed asthma management regimen.  Secondly, it lays the foundation for ongoing asthma education programming that will be provided by the nurses in the school system.