Healthy Children, Healthy Homes: A Community Education Program to Reduce Asthma Episodes in Children

Friday, 11 July 2008: 10:00 AM
Dorothy Brooten, PhD, RN, FAAN , College of Nursing & Health Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL
JoAnne M. Youngblut, PhD, RN, FAAN , College of Nursing & Health Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Sandra L. Lobar, PhD, ARNP-BC , College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL
L. M. Hernandez, MSN, CPN , Undergraduate Nursing Program, FIU/MCH, Miami, FL

Learning Objective 1: 1. describe effects of the Healthy Children, Healthy Homes program on asthma knowledge among community members.

Learning Objective 2: 2. describe implications of the study’s findings for clinical practice and future research.

Aim: Develop and test an educational intervention to increase community awareness of household and environmental factors that increase risk of developing asthma and asthma episodes in children.

Method: The program focuses on 4 common household triggers: indoor tobacco smoke, dust, cockroach droppings, pet hair. Based on Diffusion of Innovation theory, community persons (Asthma Friends) were trained about asthma risk, household asthma triggers, and asthma prevention and provided with skills to communicate this knowledge to others in their community. Teaching by registered nurses is conducted in two 90-minute sessions. Session 1 includes information on asthma, asthma risk, household triggers and methods to control triggers. Session 2 focuses on ways to educate and help others change their household environments and their children's activities to prevent asthma. Asthma Friends share their learning with at least 10 others in their community. School children are taught about asthma and asthma triggers in 15-minute sessions followed by a poster contest on asthma. Pre and post program intervention surveys were conducted in the community to test the program's effectiveness.

Results: The program was pilot tested in one Catholic Elementary school (276 children, 13 Asthma Friends) with expanded testing in 4 Catholic elementary schools (1800 children, 75 Asthma Friends). Significant differences in perceived susceptibility to asthma and knowledge about common household triggers, reduced misconceptions regarding asthma, and intent to change behaviors regarding asthma triggers were found. Asthma Friends shared their information with a total of 880 persons in the community in the pilot and expanded testing.

Conclusions: Considering the high prevalence of asthma in communities across the globe, development of sustainable behavioral interventions is vital to prevention and successful management of this chronic condition. Our testing indicates that Healthy Children, Healthy Homes is a successful tool in this crucial endeavor.

Funding: S.C. Johnson, A Family Company.