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Airtight Approach

July 2005

Asthma accounts for one-quarter of all emergency room visits in the United States each year. As the number of asthmatics continues to grow, providing the most effective treatment for asthma patients is crucial.

A study, initiated in 1999 and completed in October 2004 by the department of respiratory care at the Health Science Center, is moving closer to that goal. Terry LeGrand, Ph.D., chairman of the department of respiratory care in the School of Allied Health Sciences, is principal investigator of the study, which focuses on asthma management. The study compares three groups of care, including
1.) standard care, 2.) standard care supplemented by nurse home visits and
3.) care supplemented by respiratory therapist (RT) home visits. Funded by a competitive grant from the American Association for Respiratory Care, the study monitors a patientís quality of life, number of asthma episodes and his or her scores on an asthma questionnaire.

One of the preliminary findings indicates that asthma management programs delivered in the home by nurses or RTs result in fewer emergency room and physician office visits, which results in a lower overall cost of care.

Additionally, patients enrolled in the group cared for by RTs reported being most satisfied with their care and detailed a better quality of life.

"When patients enjoy their care, they are more likely to be compliant in their care," Dr. LeGrand said. "Disease management programs are the wave of the future and will enable us to make the best use of shrinking health care dollars."

An abstract outlining results from the study has been submitted to the American College of Chest Physicians for presentation in October.

Did you know?

The Health Science Center has one of the best bachelorís degree programs in respiratory therapy in the nation. The program ranked among the top five out of 54 accredited baccalaureate degree programs in the country, according to a poll taken by the American Association for Respiratory Care.


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Updated 12/11/14