The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2010 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

A NEEDS ASSESSMENT FOR DEVELOPING SCHOOL ASTHMA MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS IN THE EAST CENTRAL HEALTH DISTRICT OF GEORGIA.

Kathleen Hernlen, Randall Baker, Rachel Stern, Jenni Massingale, Besa Ackonchong; Medical College of Georgia, Martinez, GA

Background: The East Central Health District (ECHD) of Georgia has an asthma death rate that is significantly higher than the state and national death rates for children under the age of 14. A comprehensive approach to managing asthma includes an asthma management plan in schools. The purpose of this study was to assess the status and priorities for implementing asthma management strategies in schools in the ECHD using the National Heart Lung Blood Institute’s “How Asthma Friendly is Your School (AFS)” survey. Method: We sought permission from school superintendents to contact schools in their county. Once permission was obtained, surveys were sent to principals who returned the completed surveys to the MCG Department of Respiratory Therapy for analysis of outcomes. Results: We received permission from 7 out of 13 (53.8%) of the counties. 41 of the 112 (36.6%) schools returned the surveys. The outcomes of the surveys are presented in Table 1. Conclusion: Positive findings included tobacco free schools and policies that allow students to take asthma medications at school and participate in physical education. However, there is need for improvement in written IAQ management plans, the availability of pre-medications and education about asthma for school staff, students with asthma, and parents of children with asthma. Principals placed IAQ management plans and education as their top priorities. The results of the surveys were shared with the ECHD in an effort to create strategies to implement changes in the public health district. Sponsored Research - Georgia Department of Human Resources, East Central Health District of Georgia TABLE 1: AFS RESULTS FOR ECHD