Asthma 411: Treating kids’ asthma attacks at school

March 17th, 2017

JPS Health Network is collaborating with Tarrant County schools and area healthcare organizations in a program called Asthma 411 that gives school nurses equipment, training and medical clearance to quickly treat student asthma attacks on campus.

It is estimated that more than 56,000 children in Tarrant County have asthma. At many schools, when a child has breathing problems at school, the campus nurse may have to resort to calling 911 for medical assistance. That can result in a trip to an emergency room and days missed from school.

Asthma 411 aims to keep students with asthma in class and to greatly reduce the need for emergency room treatment. In the program, school nurses are trained to administer emergency treatment to students in respiratory distress using nebulizers and medicine.

The program started in 2013 with a pilot at two Fort Worth ISD campuses and it was expanded to 18 campuses this year. Now, with the support of Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, work is underway to expand the program to every school in Tarrant County this fall.

UNT Health Science Center is managing the program. Cook Children’s is donating nebulizers, tubing, face masks and albuterol medicine and JPS is making it easier for school districts and their nurses to consult with physicians and obtain standing orders (prewritten medication orders). 

“As the program expands to more school districts in the county, JPS and Acclaim Physician Group have offered to contract with any school district requiring a consulting physician,” said Andrew Crim, executive director of the Office of Professional and Continuing Education at UNTHSC.

Jay Haynes, M.D., Senior Medical Director at JPS Health and Wellness, said: “JPS is so honored to participate in this community health improvement effort as we work to transform healthcare delivery for the communities we serve. This program demonstrates significant cost savings and increased student productivity as well as decreased absenteeism, fewer unnecessary ambulance calls and fewer visits to the emergency room.” 

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