Asthma Action Plan Standardizes Care for All Children in All Settings of Care in WNY

Released: 1/16/2014

Developed by Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo in collaboration with UBMD and the Buffalo Pediatric Society


Western New York regional health care professionals from private practice, school, community and hospital-based settings have created a unified care plan for the management of asthma, one of the most prevalent childhood chronic conditions.

The Western New York Asthma Action Plan was developed by Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo in collaboration with UBMD and the Buffalo Pediatric Society with input from a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals who deliver care to asthmatic children, including respiratory therapists, clinical pharmacists, primary care pediatricians, hospitalists, nurse asthma educators, emergency department personnel, allergy- immunology and pulmonology specialists, community based health organizations, as well as parents of children diagnosed with asthma. 

Asthma is a chronic disease that can be serious — even life threatening.  An asthma flare up or attack is a series of events that results in narrowing of the airways. These include: swelling of the lining of the airways, tightening of the muscles around the airways, and increased secretion of mucus in the airways. Narrowing of the airways is responsible for the difficulty in breathing with the familiar “wheeze” and cough.  There is no cure for asthma, although it can be managed if treated properly. 

The City of Buffalo is among the top 100 cities in the nation (second in New York State) of the most challenging places to live with asthma, according to the American Lung Association of the Northeast, a key partner in developing this asthma action and education plan for Western New York.  Asthma disproportionately affects children, minority populations and those who live in urban and suburban areas according to the New York State Department of Health 2009 Asthma Surveillance Summary Report.

In New York State, approximately 491,000 children suffer with asthma.  Nationally, 22.2 million people have asthma including more than 6.8 million children.  Nearly 5,000 people die from asthma annually.

The American Lung Association of the Northeast recently reformed the Asthma Coalition of Erie County in order to convene partnerships such as this one to address and reduce the burden of asthma across the county. WCHOB asthma projects and specifically the WNY Asthma Action Plan will be a focal starting point to address Asthma in children. This partnership and its outcomes are highly anticipated as a best practice model for our communities.

“There are many children suffering from asthma in our community and they receive care in a variety of clinical settings, including private physician practices, primary and specialty care clinics, in their schools, urgent care centers, emergency rooms and inpatient hospital units,” said Steven J. Lana, MD FAAP, Medical Director of Physician Outreach, Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and Medical Director of Buffalo Public Schools.  “Collectively, we needed to develop a consistent approach to the care of children with asthma that is evidence based, supported by best practices and applied in each of these settings.”

The absence of a uniform approach to the outpatient management of asthma and inconsistent messaging about prevention and treatment of asthma symptoms throughout Western New York represented a significant obstacle to the optimal management of childhood asthma. Consequently a steering committee of a cross section of health care professionals who treat children with asthma was assembled to develop a unified plan that could be used in every setting where children with asthma are treated.  The Asthma Coalition of Erie County will support, foster and spread these and new efforts with Kaleida/WCHOB and other partners community wide in order to improve the care of asthma and reduce the overall burden to our target populations in need.

The outcome of the collaboration of community and hospital-based specialists is a streamlined, user friendly, asthma action - education plan that incorporates the best elements of existing asthma action plans in our community into a single, unified asthma management, education and communication tool to be used in all clinical settings for every child with asthma.

As a result of developing a community standard of care with broad based support and buy in, the following outcomes are anticipated: 

1) Decreased frequency and severity of asthma exacerbations in children

2) Decrease urgent care, emergency room and hospital admission of children with asthma

3) Improved awareness of the importance of minimizing asthma trigger exposures

4) Improved utilization of controller and rescue medications

5) Improved communication between health care professionals in different clinical settings

6) Improved school based management of asthma by providing a standardized asthma order sent to school nurses.

For more information about asthma, a parent should contact their child’s pediatrician.  For additional information or to download this asthma action plan and education, please go to: www.wchob.org/asthma.

For more information about the Asthma Coalition of Erie County/ American Lung Association of the Northeast, please call Jennifer Sullivan, Director at:1-800-499- LUNG x 1404.

Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, a Kaleida Health facility and teaching hospital for the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is the regional center for comprehensive and state-of-the-art pediatric, neonatal, perinatal and obstetrical services in Western New York and beyond.

 

Additional information available: www.wchob.org/asthma