Case Management

Innovative program aims to reduce asthma-related ER visits

Case Management Insider, January 20, 2015

After discharge, many patients experience health relapses that send them back to the hospital. With more pressure than ever on case managers to help prevent avoidable readmissions, which may result in financial penalties for hospitals, it’s important to prevent these relapses. One way to do this is to help patients to learn how to care for themselves properly.

One innovation featured by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality does just that by using an emergency department-based asthma clinic to provide asthma education to high-risk patients in hopes of cutting down emergency room visits.
The program is called Improving Pediatric Asthma Care in the District of Columbia (IMPACT DC). It is run through the Children’s National Health System. The organization hosts an asthma clinic inside the emergency department at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Patients who come into the hospital for an asthma attack are scheduled for a follow-up visit at the clinic a few days or weeks after returning home. Healthcare practitioners may refer children with asthma-control problems or those with frequent asthma-related school absences to the program.
The goal of the 90-minute clinic visit is to provide individualized education to parents and the patients on how to better control asthma to avoid acute episodes. Each patient gets one-on-one instruction along with an asthma action plan, which includes tips on how to control allergens in the home, a medication schedule, a prescription list, and a reminder to visit their primary care physician on a regular basis. The clinic also provides several months of follow-up support to ensure the patient is on the right track.
The model is backed by research published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in 2006.
Among the benefits, patients increased their use of asthma-controller medications by 100%, cut ED visits in half, and had better quality of life.
Click here for more information on the program and implementation tips.


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