A multidisciplinary program for managing asthma in a pediatric population is discussed.
A coordinated, multidisciplinary program for managing asthma in children was initiated in November 1997 at a U.S. Army medical center. The program, designed to improve care and decrease hospitalizations for asthma, was pharmacist managed and pulmonologist directed and was implemented by pediatricians. Patient education was provided by a pediatric clinical pharmacist or a nurse case manager; providers also received intensive education. Follow-up occurred at predetermined intervals and included asthma education, discussion of expectations and goals, analysis of metered-dose-inhaler and spacer technique, and assessment of compliance. Between November 1997 and January 1999, 210 inpatients were screened for asthma. One hundred seven were believed to have asthma and received inpatient asthma counseling and teaching. Of these 107 patients, 79 were enrolled in the program and monitored in the ambulatory care setting. Seventy-one (90%) of the 79 program enrollees were not rehospitalized during the ensuing two years. The number of children admitted to the hospital for asthma decreased from 147 in 1997 (a rate of 3.2 per 1000 population) to 93 in 1998 (2.1 per 1000) and to 87 in 1999 (1.9 per 1000).
A multidisciplinary approach to the management of children with asthma may reduce hospitalizations of such patients.