Allercy and Asthma Health
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The Official Publication of AAN - MA

Georgia RTs Partner with Kohl’s Cares for Kids

by Clifton Dennis, RRT, AE-C

climbing

 

In the fall of 2006 there were four pediatric asthma deaths in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) of Georgia. This initiated an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to look into the root cause, and one of the CDC recommendations called for increased community asthma awareness.

Respiratory Therapists in the Respiratory Care Department at MCG Health Hospital System spoke with grant writers in the organization about finding a funding stream to provide this community awareness. Since we already had an established relationship with Kohl’s Cares for Kids to provide community lung health education, we were able to secure a grant from the program for community asthma awareness. The first year we received $17,000 for this purpose. We are now in our third year, and the grant has been increased to $27,000. This money is used to provide community asthma screenings that include the Asthma Control Test (ACT) and spirometry, as well as asthma kits containing a peak flow meter, spacer, and asthma education materials. The kits are valued at $75 each.

Respiratory Therapists screen children and distribute the kits at an asthma carnival held in the parking lot of the local Kohl’s Department Store. The carnival features inflatables, rock-climbing walls, and sno-cones to entertain the kids, and we average an attendance of 200 children. The event is staffed by volunteers from our Respiratory Care Department and the local CSRA Asthma Awareness Coalition.

Our last carnival was staffed by 24 Respiratory Therapists, who worked during two shifts to provide spirometry, ACT testing, and asthma education on triggers, peak flows, spacers, and community support services. Any participant who scores 19 or higher on the ACT test is sent referred for spirometry, and we provide asthma education to all participants, with special emphasis on those with a previous history of asthma. The carnival regularly uncovers children with previously undiagnosed asthma.

The asthma carnival has become an event that our Respiratory Therapists look forward to every year. I believe our willingness to work with Kohl’s on this positive community awareness project has benefited both the department store and our Respiratory Therapists who work at our health care facility. •

Clifton Dennis is a lead Respiratory Therapist and Certified Asthma Educator at Children’s Medical Center, Medical College of Georgia, in Augusta, GA.

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