Allercy and Asthma Health
The Official Publication of AAN - MA

Keeping Kids in the Classroom

Peak Performance USA Matches Respiratory Therapists to Schools and Parents To Minimize Asthma-related Absences

LogoIf your child has asthma, you probably start out every school year wondering how many days your son or daughter will miss due to the condition. A new program developed by respiratory therapists from the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) has the tools you and your school need to put a serious dent in those absences.

The online-based Peak Performance USA (PPUSA) program is designed to connect local respiratory therapists with parents and schools so that each child will have an asthma plan on file to help identify and treat asthma symptoms before they have a chance to get out of hand and cause a school absence.

Based on national asthma guidelines

“We wanted to reach out to schools and parents because we believe many of the problems kids have with their asthma are related to the care they receive during the school day,” says Tom Kallstrom, a Registered Respiratory Therapist and chief operating officer of the AARC. “The PPUSA program was designed and developed by AARC members with long-term experience treating children with asthma and is based entirely on the national asthma guidelines established by the National Institutes of Health.”

The PPUSA web site includes special sections for school staff and families, plus a section for respiratory therapists who want to get involved. Once a school has been assigned a local respiratory therapist, the therapist makes an appointment with the school nurse to design a customized approach to asthma management for that particular school.

Each school that signs up for the program also receives a complimentary peak flow meter and AeroChamber holding chamber. School nurses can use the peak flow meter to keep track of how well students are breathing, and the AeroChamber allows nurses to demonstrate correct inhaler use to the children.

“A godsend”

Phyllis Moskowitz, a Registered Respiratory Therapist working with school nurses in the Davenport School District in Iowa, has appreciated the chance the program has given her to go into her local schools and teach staff and students about asthma and how it can be controlled. “What better way to help school nurses provide the best care possible to children in our community?” asks the AARC member.

The nurses she has worked with have given the program high marks. Sarah Daniels, RN, a school nurse from Davenport North High School, even went so far as to say, “The information and equipment was a godsend.”

What’s on the site for families

Parents and families like the program, too, because the web site has lots of great resources they can use to get more informed about asthma. Here’s what you’ll find on the site:

  • An overview of asthma and facts about the condition.
  • An asthma management guide with detailed information on asthma management and what it can do for your child.
  • An explanation of PPUSA, including a list of program goals.
  • A list of participating respiratory care departments so you can see if the program is already operating in your area.
  • A list of states that allow children to carry their asthma medications with them during the school day.
  • Links to pharmaceutical assistance programs for families that may be having a hard time affording their child’s asthma medications.
  • Endorsements from other organizations, including the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Be sure to check out the PPUSA web site to learn more about asthma and to see how Peak Performance can help your child in school. Ask your school administrators if they are participating in the PPUSA, and if they are not, ask them to join.

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