in the Department of Respiratory Care in the School of Allied Health
Sciences recently completed a study on pediatric asthma that yielded
The study showed
the benefits of an in-home asthma treatment program provided by
respiratory therapists in significantly reducing the number and cost of
hospital and emergency room visits, doctor visits and school absences in
children with asthma.
disease management program is not a new idea, but this may be the first
time its effectiveness when administered by a respiratory therapist in the
home has been measured. Nineteen children between the ages of 3 and 18
took part in the study. Data were collected 12 months before and after the
program was implemented.
therapists made eight home visits to evaluate environmental conditions in
the home and show the correct way of using peak flow meters, inhalers and
nebulizers. These measures are basic to managing the disease, but if they
are not done routinely they are of little value.
astounded how many asthmatics don’t know how to properly use a peak flow
meter and inhaler,” said David C. Shelledy, Ph.D., RRT, chairman of the
Department of Respiratory Care and principal author on the study. Families
also were given detailed instructions on how to cope with acute episodes
of asthma. “Everyone with asthma should have an action plan,” Dr.
Shelledy said. “They should know what to do.”
The study was
based on a program of in-home evaluation and patient education developed
by second author Shawn McCormick, B.S., RRT, a respiratory therapist and
former director of patient care services at Christus Santa Rosa Hospital.
Other study authors were Health Science Center faculty members Terry
LeGrand, Ph.D., RRT, and Jay I. Peters, M.D.