New Home Asthma Prevention Program Provides On-site Education and Support to Chester Families
- Crozer-Keystone’s new Chester Home Asthma Prevention Program aims to help Chester families reduce asthma triggers in and around the home while giving them some supplies to support an asthma-friendly home.
- Chester families with children between the ages of 5 and 17 who have poorly controlled asthma can receive in-home visits, education and follow-up visits.
- The program is supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. It is an extension of the award-winning Kids’ Asthma Management Program.
Representatives from the Chester Home Asthma Prevention Program were on hand when the Chester City Council issued a proclamation to recognize May as National Asthma Awareness Month. From left to right are Marrea Walker-Smith, Chester City Council; Ellen Williams, administrative director of Community Health Education for Crozer-Keystone; Clarissa Tillery, community outreach coordinator for the Chester Environmental Partnership; Rev. Dr. Horace Strand, chairman of the Chester Environmental Partnership; and Zalika Shani, program manager of the Chester Home Asthma Prevention Program and Kids Asthma Management Program.
Crozer-Keystone’s Kids’ Asthma Management Program (KAMP) is now making house calls through the new Chester Home Asthma Prevention Program. Through this program, Chester families with children who have poorly controlled asthma can now receive in-home visits, education and follow-up visits.
The Chester Home Asthma Prevention Program aims to educate and help reduce asthma triggers in and around the home while giving families some necessary supplies to support an asthma-friendly home. To qualify for the program, the child must have at least one asthma-related emergency department visit or frequent asthma flares, be referred to the Community Health Education Department through their physician, school nurse or other community program, or contact the program directly for more information.
This program was created by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and is being conducted pursuant to a State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement (SEJCA) with the US Environmental Protection Agency. The Chester Environmental Partnership, a grassroots organization that works to protect the environmental health of the community, is a sub-grantee under the SEJCA.
Crozer-Keystone’s Kids’ Asthma Management Program provides asthma detection and management services to children in the Chester Upland School District. Through the program, which has been honored by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, children receive referral to medical care and monitoring, access to appropriate asthma medications, patient and family education and tools for asthma management.
“We saw this as a natural extension of our services from the school-based Kids Asthma Management Program to the Home Management Program. We have been educating children about asthma in school, but wanted to follow them to the place where they spend most of their time. It is bringing the program full circle,” says Ellen Williams, director of Community Health Education for Crozer-Keystone.
“The program will help us to educate families about eliminating triggers in the home and help to prevent future asthma attacks. Our goal is to help families better manage their children’s asthma in partnership with their healthcare providers,” says Zalika Shani, MPH, CHES, manager of KAMP and the Chester Home Asthma Prevention Program.
Part of asthma management includes educating asthmatics on how to prevent flare-ups through the proper use of medication, having an asthma action plan and creating an “asthma-friendly” home that will also benefit all family members.
Peer counselors have been trained to carry out asthma education and the important role of environmental remediation in decreasing asthma triggers in the home. Parents or caregivers of children between the ages of 5 and 17 who have been to an emergency department or who have been hospitalized for an asthma-related problem are notified through the mail that they are eligible to participate in the program. They also receive a follow-up phone call to explain the service and to schedule an initial home visit. The program also accepts referrals from various community sources.
Once a family is enrolled in the program, the program director and one of the peer counselors schedule an initial home visit to introduce the program, teach the child and family about asthma signs and symptoms and conduct baseline evaluations. Following that visit, the peer counselor will conduct four additional one-hour visits to the home to talk to the family and demonstrate ways of reducing environmental asthmas triggers in the home. Each family will also receive an asthma trigger remediation kit that includes items such as child-resistant roach bait, an allergen-proof pillow and mattress encasings and non-toxic cleaning products and cleaning supplies.
The manager will follow up with bi-monthly home visits for the first six months and quarterly calls during the last part of the year to determine if the program has been successful in creating “asthma-friendly homes” as well as improving the families’ asthma management as indicated by an improvement in asthma symptoms. Program staff will work with the family to identify barriers that might be preventing the family from achieving an asthma-friendly home.
For more information about the program, call the Crozer-Keystone Community Health Education Department at (610) 447- 6009.