By: Melanie Claborn, PharmD, BCACP, and John Dimmer, APRN, CPNP-PC
Asthma is one of the most common chronic conditions in children.
Symptoms include; cough, wheezing and shortness of breath. According to the State’s Health Report from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, about 1-in-10 Oklahoma children aged 0-17 years reported having asthma.
Asthma affects more Native Americans within the state of Oklahoma and places a significant burden on the health care system. Quality asthma care involves not only the initial diagnosis and treatment to achieve asthma control, but also long-term, regular follow-up care and education to maintain control.
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic’s Harmon-y Pediatric Clinic established a Pediatric Asthma Clinic in 2014. This program provides age appropriate comprehensive education to patients and families about asthma, triggers and pulmonary function testing. The asthma clinic staff is an interdisciplinary health care team, which includes a pediatric provider who is a Certified Asthma Educator, clinical pharmacist and nursing staff.
Asthma clinic appointments are available on Thursday mornings. These appointments include a review of the child’s asthma management plan, assessment of asthma control and lung function, and determine how often follow up visits may be needed. Clinic staff helps identify any areas that may trigger the patient’s asthma, including environment at home or school.
- Coughing that gets worse at night
- Wheezing (whistling sound when breathing in or out)
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling of tightness in chest
Goals of asthma treatment:
- Minimize symptoms
- Avoid limitations for physical activities
- Fewer asthma attacks and ease of control when having them
- Fewer absences from school and work
- Few to no side effects from asthma medications
The health care team develops personalized asthma action plans to help the children control their asthma and provide support for them and their families. Asthma action plans are designed to show a step-by-step plan providing clear instructions for management of asthma. A pharmacist educates on proper technique for the use of all medications and spacer devices. Education of maintenance medication is key in understanding the need of daily medications. The family learns to identify early symptoms of an exacerbation and how to treat at home to avoid worsening symptoms. Having a written asthma plan allows the patient to maintain normal everyday activities without having asthma symptoms.
For more information, please contact the Harmon-y Pediatric Asthma Clinic at (405) 948-4900 ext. 633 or 635.
*originally published in HORIZONS 2017 Volume 1