Lessons From an Evaluation of the Effectiveness of an Asthma Day Camp

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Abstract

Purpose:

To evaluate the effectiveness of applied teaching methodologies in a camp setting on asthma self-management skills in school-age children.

Design:

This was a descriptive pilot study using a one-group pretest-posttest design.

Sample:

Thirty-four subjects, ages 6 to 12 years, representing a typical clinical population of children with asthma.

Methods:

Children's asthma knowledge, symptoms, behavior, and mastery, as well as peak-flow technique, were measured 2 to 3 weeks before camp and then again on the last day of camp. Baseline measures of parents' asthma knowledge and family stress related to asthma were obtained. Outcomes specific to asthma management, such as missed school days, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations, were evaluated by parent report the year before and after the intervention.

Results:

Significant improvement in peak-flow technique and a reported reduction in emergency room visits and missed school days after camp were found.

Clinical Implications:

In this pilot study, the use of an applied teaching format for school-age children in an asthma day camp resulted in some learning. More rigorous design and instrumentation are important for better evaluation of programs such as this. Nurses working with these populations should plan structured evaluations of the programs so they can best meet the children's needs.

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