Back to home Oct. 2012
Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida
Asthma Health Management Program Helps Patients Breathe Easier
He didn't have an official diagnosis, but at age 3, Elijah began developing bronchitis and pneumonia on a regular basis. "I knew it wasn't right," Jennifer says. "Then, he had to stop playing hockey."
Jennifer contacted Teresa Summe, coordinator for the Lee Memorial Health System Asthma Health Management Program, seeking help and some answers to Elijah's breathing difficulties. "I didn't realize how sick he was until we had our first appointment," she said. "His lungs were operating at 30 percent."
Elijah completed a six-month program, and learned how to breathe easier and to look for the signs for potential triggers that could lead to an asthma attack. He also received an inhaler and nebulizer to help combat problems when an asthma attack hits.
"We also learned that he had several severe allergies that can cause an attack," Jennifer says. "He takes his inhaler in his backpack and we know to avoid certain foods and situations that are likely to trigger an attack." Now, at age 7, Elijah is back on track with extracurricular activities, including sports.
The Asthma Health Management Program is an educational program that also includes diagnostic testing at each visit. "All patients are seen one-on-one by a certified asthma educator once a month for as many as six months," Teresa says. Sessions are adjusted according to the patient's individualized needs, and can last as long as two hours.
"At each session, the patient and family members learn a new component of education to work toward obtaining and maintaining control of the patient's asthma," Teresa says. "An example of the education for the first session is setting up the patient's Asthma Action Plan, so they have written instructions on how to control the asthma daily, urgently and emergently; medication reconciliation (including controller and relief medications); and lung anatomy and physiology."
Other sessions cover how to identify and reduce triggers; nasal and sinus anatomy and the benefits of keeping these upper airways clear; peak flow meter use, and an overview of each patient's prognosis.
For more information on the Asthma Health Management Program, call 239-343-0765.
“All patients are seen one-on-one by a certified asthma educator once a month for as many as six months. Sessions are adjusted according to the patient's individualized needs, and can last as long as two hour,” says Teresa Summe.
Adult Onset Asthma