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Published on April 25, 2014

Kids Asthma Management Program (K.A.M.P.) Offers Comprehensive Options for Students and their Families

In Brief

  • K.A.M.P., a program established in 1999 by CKHS Community Health Education, is the only comprehensive school-based asthma education program currently being utilized in Delaware County.
  • Students learn how to reduce their exposure to asthma triggers, how to identify early warning cues before an asthma flare, proper use of medications, use of peak flow meters and deep breathing techniques.
  • Every June, a summer asthma day camp is held at the Healthplex® Sports Club at Springfield Hospital. The asthma camp combines fitness, conditioning and sports with daily asthma education.

Ramprasad Vatsala

Dr. Ramprasad Vatsala,
M.D.

Did you know that K.A.M.P., a program established in 1999 by CKHS Community Health Education, is the only comprehensive school-based asthma education program currently being utilized in Delaware County? Thanks to the joint efforts of Zalika Shani, MPH, MCHES, manager, and pediatric pulmonologist Vatsala Ramprasad, M.D., medical director, this community program is now being offered county-wide in many school districts and charter schools.

“We can work with any school — public, parochial or charter — and tailor the program to their needs, whether they want the ‘Open Airways’ program for students who have asthma, a faculty in-service or a parent education session. I reach out to school nurses in all of the county’s districts as well as daycare and early learning centers to figure out where K.A.M.P. can make a difference,” Shani says.

The evidence-based “Open Airways” curriculum is a multi-session series that uses small group discussion and activities that teach self-management skills. Students learn about ways to reduce their exposure to asthma triggers, how to identify early warning cues before an asthma flare, proper use of medications, including spacers with metered dose inhalers, use of peak flow meters and deep breathing techniques. Spacers, peak flow meters, Asthma Action Plan forms and incentive gifts are distributed during these hands-on sessions.

The “Open Airways” curriculum was developed by the American Lung Association. Shani has also incorporated elements of another evidenced-based curriculum, “You Can Control Asthma” (YCCA). YCCA was developed by Georgetown University’s Division of Children’s Health Promotion/Department of Family Medicine and field-tested by Howard University and the John Hopkins University.

CKHS Community Health Education, under the leadership of Ellen Williams, MSA, was recently chosen to provide support for the Pediatric Asthma Task Force of Delaware County. Support comes in many forms, as Ramprasad is the convener with Shani serving as the host and primary point of contact. The Task Force meets monthly on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 1:30 p.m. at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Silberman Center, third floor. Because community partnerships such as this one are vital to the program’s mission, Shani is also an active participant with other regional associations, including PA Asthma Partnership and its Southeast Regional Group, Chester Environmental Partnership, and the Association of Asthma Educators’ Training Program Design for Community Health Workers Subcommittee.

Shani and Ramprasad also find time throughout the year to attend

Asthma camp

Students participate in a stretching
session during K.A.M.P.

community health events to provide education about the effects of asthma on a person’s health. K.A.M.P. is able to provide tips on reducing exposure to home allergens/irritants for families who want to have an “asthma-friendly” home, as well as instruct school and day care staff about strategies for a more asthma-friendly environment for their facilities.

In June, Shani and Ramprasad will serve as co-chairs of a summer asthma day camp, which is held each year at the Healthplex® Sports Club at Springfield Hospital. The asthma camp combines fitness, conditioning and sports with daily asthma education. The YCCA curriculum is used for the lesson plans, which also incorporate components of the “Open Airways” curriculum and the “Starbright” curriculum, which was developed by the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation. Parents participate in daily homework assignments that reinforce key concepts.

Following the camp, CKHS plans to conduct a post-camp survey with the parents. Last year’s six-month post-camp parent survey showed that the camp experience improved the children’s asthma self-management skills. Parents felt that their children gained knowledge of the symptoms, triggers and proper use of asthma medications. Parents cited a decrease in the number of asthma flares over a six-month post-camp period. Nearly 59 percent of the campers had three to eight flares in the six months prior to camp, while no camper in the survey sample had six or more flares in the six months after camp.

To sign up for this year’s summer camp or to discuss K.A.M.P., please contact Shani at 610-447-6030 or zalika.shani@crozer.org

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