School Is Cool For Asthma Patients Of All Ages

Armen Hareyan's picture
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More than 20 million American children and adults with asthma are getting a back-to-school boost from the new asthma care guidelines announced recently by U.S. health officials, which affirm the primary importance of patient education programs -- not just treatment -- to help patients live without limits and to improve their quality of life.

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Millions of children with asthma heading back to classrooms this fall will be greeted by an increasing number of school-based asthma education initiatives, and adult patients around the U.S. are getting more access to these types of patient education programs, as well. Now, the new asthma care guidelines from the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has made patient education a major priority in their new guidelines.

"It is well-known that patient education is the cornerstone of quality care and outcomes for asthma patients, as it is for other diseases," says Mary Brasler, MSN, EdD, Director of Programs for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), the leading national asthma patient advocacy group and a member of the NAEPP schools committee. "Simply put, if people are taught asthma self-management skills, they are more likely to adhere to their treatment plans and their health improves."

Public health experts agree that using quality education tools is critical, and the most effective types of patient education are "validated" programs, which have been subjected to independent clinical research to show that they improve patient knowledge, behavior and outcomes. AAFA developed five validated patient education programs for asthma, two for school-based use. AAFA's "You Can Control Asthma" program is for elementary school-aged children, and AAFA's "Power Breathing" program is for middle/high school-aged children. In addition, AAFA's "School Asthma Action Card" is included as a tool in the new asthma guidelines.

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