Effectiveness of school-based family asthma educational programs in quality of life and asthma exacerbations in asthmatic children aged five to 18: a systematic review

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Abstract

Background

Asthma is a common, chronic, non-communicable respiratory disease that affects millions of children worldwide. Asthma exacerbations can range from mild to severe and can have an unfavorable impact on the quality of life of children and their caregivers. Asthma exacerbations often result in absenteeism from school or work, activity intolerance and emergency hospital visits. One strategy to address this health issue in an attempt to improve health outcomes is school-based asthma educational programs. A review of the literature revealed that previous systematic reviews have examined similar topics on the effectiveness of school-based asthma educational programs that have included collaborative efforts between parents and schools. No systematic reviews were found that examined the effectiveness of school-based asthma educational programs that exclusively included children and their caregivers. Research has not been systematically reviewed to determine the effectiveness of a school-based asthma educational program within a familial context.

Objectives

To identify the best available evidence on the effectiveness of school-based family asthma educational programs that exclusively included both children and caregivers on the quality of life and number of asthma exacerbations of children aged five to 18 years with a clinical diagnosis of asthma.

Inclusion criteria Types of participants

Children aged five to 18 years of any gender, race or ethnicity with a clinical diagnosis of asthma and their caregivers.

Types of intervention(s)

School-based family asthma educational programs.

Types of studies

Randomized controlled trials.

Outcomes

Quality of life and the number of asthma exacerbations measured by either missed days from school or work, and/or physical activity intolerance, and/or emergency hospital visits.

Search strategy

The search strategy aimed to find both published and unpublished studies from inception of the database to August 21, 2015.

Methodological quality

Quantitative papers selected for retrieval were assessed by two independent reviewers for methodological validity before inclusion in the review using standardized critical appraisal instruments from the Joanna Briggs Institute.

Data extraction

Data were extracted from articles included in the review using the standardized data extraction tool from the Joanna Briggs Institute. The data extracted included specific details about the populations, interventions, study methods and outcomes of significance to the review question and its specific objectives.

Data synthesis

Due to the heterogeneity among the included studies, statistical pooling and meta-analysis was not possible. Results are presented in narrative form.

Results

Six studies examining the intervention were included in this review. All six of the included studies were randomized controlled trials (RCTs). All six studies compared the effects of school-based asthma education to no school-based asthma education/usual care on quality of life and number of asthma exacerbations. Three out of four RCTs showed that children who participated in school-based family asthma educational programs demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in overall quality of life (P < 0.05). All six studies showed improvement in the number of asthma exacerbations that resulted in one or all of the measured outcomes of either missed days from school or work, physical activity intolerance and/or decreased emergency hospital visits.

Conclusion

School-based family asthma educational programs for children that include caregivers can have a positive impact on the quality of life and asthma management of children with asthma. Other outcomes that can be positively affected by school-based family asthma educational programs include absenteeism from school or work, physical activity intolerance and emergency hospital visits as result of asthma exacerbations.

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