Asthma Van Keeps St. Louis Children Healthy
St. Louis Children's Hospital's mission is, "We do what's right for kids." This mission compels the hospital to help children in medically underserved communities, with health issues for which they would otherwise receive no treatment. And in St. Louis there is no chronic health issue that affects more children than asthma.
Several days each week, the hospital sends out an asthma team - registered nurses, pediatric nurse practitioners, asthma coaches, asthma educators and social workers - via the Healthy Kids Express Asthma Program, a 36 ft expandable mobile health unit that functions as a mobile asthma clinic. The team enrolls asthmatic elementary school children in a comprehensive asthma management program that provides all the medications, equipment, education and motivation they need to keep their asthma under control. The program also provides several thousand free flu shots to kids with asthma each year; these kids are at greater risk of serious complications from influenza.
The Healthy Kids Express Asthma Program works! Kids enrolled for a school year show an increase in asthma knowledge, a decrease in school absenteeism, fewer 911 calls, ER visits and unnecessary hospitalizations relating to their asthma. This is significant, because asthma is the number one reason why kids come to the ER. Kids also report feeling more in control, and more able to participate in play, sports, recess, and family and social life.
Asthma cannot yet be cured, but it can be controlled. Children with uncontrolled asthma live with chronic inflammation of the lungs, an undesirable condition that can lead to early chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Asthma can also be fatal, but it needn't be.
Armed with an asthma action plan, an asthma education, medications and supplies and good follow through on prescribed asthma management strategies, children served by the Healthy Kids Express Asthma Program can live healthy, active lives.
The Healthy kids Express Asthma Program is 100 percent donor funded. To find out how you can help kids with Asthma, visit The St. Louis Children's Hospital Website.