SEARCH Session 2
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects both pediatric and adult patients. This disease
causes the lungs to become inflamed and obstructed causing difficulty breathing1. The causes of
asthma are Multifactorial including a genetic component and an environmental component1.
Symptoms are triggered by many things, such as allergens, air pollutants, respiratory infections,
exercise, weather extremes, and anxiety2. Although asthma can’t be cured, the symptoms, such as
coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness, can be controlled1.
In the United States, asthma is the most common chronic condition that children suffer from,
affecting about 1 in every 20 children2. Connecticut has the eleventh highest asthma prevalence
among children ages 0-17 years3.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, morbidity and mortality of asthma are
highly correlated with factors such as a poorer economic status, a lack of proper patient education,
and inadequate medical care2. Of all children less than 18 years of age in the US, 17.4% of those who
have ever been told they have asthma are considered poor, compared to 12.8% that are not poor4.
In addition, 17% of those who have ever been told they have asthma are on Medicaid or other
public insurance, compared to 12.4% that have private insurance4.
The pediatric population is greatly affected by this disease. Asthma is the third cause of
hospitalization in children and 44% of all asthma hospitalizations are for children2. Asthma is also
the leading cause of absences from school for a chronic disease in children ages 5 to 172. In
addition, the death rate among children less than 19 years has increased by almost 80% since
The best ways to control asthma symptoms include avoiding particular asthma triggers, using long-
term controller medications daily, using a quick-relief medication to help manage symptoms as
they occur, recognizing signs that asthma may be worsening, and knowing how to handle an asthma
attack2. Educating patients and parents is a key component of controlling asthma in the pediatric
The objectives of this project are to 1) create a method for tracking asthma symptoms and
classification for the pediatric asthma patients at United Community and Family Service; 2)
formulate an Asthma Action Plan so that patients and parents have a quick reference of what they
should do depending on the severity of their symptoms; and 3) develop an asthma education
pamphlet that is patient friendly.
A preliminary asthma tracking system will consist of a chart record. Each time an asthma patient is
seen by a provider, whether it be a well child visit, a sick visit, or a visit specifically for asthma, a
clinic staff member will ask the patient or the parent about their asthma symptoms since their last
visit. Specific questions will include if the patient has had any breathing problem during the day,
nighttime awakenings from asthma symptoms, difficulty breathing during normal physical activity,
had any unexpected visits to the clinic or the ER for asthma, and what medications they are using
and how they are using them. Many of these questions are used in the classification of asthma
symptoms. Tracking patient’s symptoms and any changes in their care in a concise, easily located
document in the patient chart will allow a quick reference and simple reporting of asthma. By
asking patients or parents what medications they are using and how they are using them will
identify patients that may need additional counseling on treatment of asthma.
As Asthma Action Plan will lay out what specific medications the patient should use depending on
the severity of their symptoms. It will include the steps they should take if they have an asthma
attack. This will help patients recognize their symptoms and know what to do. Hopefully this will
help reduce unnecessary trips to the ER.
An asthma education pamphlet will be an additional resource for patients and parents. The topics
that will be covered in the pamphlet include what asthma is, some of the triggers of asthma, how
asthma is classified, the treatments of asthma, and when to use the different treatments. Having
this resource will help patients and parents learn about asthma and hopefully prevent acute asthma
Yet to be determined