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Asthma Care Training (ACT) for Kids

A program of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, implemented in Providence 'Alaska' Medical Center, Anchorage, Alaska.

Asthma Care Training for Kids: Lessons Learned

The ACT for Kids staff identified several key lessons they have learned from their involvement in the program.

Dedicated and committed staff: One important lesson learned is the importance of qualified and enthusiastic staff members who understand and are dedicated to the goals of the program. At ACT for Kids in Providence, physicians demonstrate their dedication by donating their time to help contain costs. Staff members also spend a lot of their personal time following up with patients to make sure they are practicing the skills they have learned in the class.

Having a highly motivated and skilled coordinator is also important. Many logistical aspects are involved in running an asthma education program, so having a full-time coordinator dedicated to the program is beneficial. ACT staff members have also found that given the complex nature of asthma, a useful strategy is to have staff from a variety of disciplines, such as allergy, pulmonology, pediatrics, social work, and psychology.

A champion: Everyone involved in the asthma management program recognized the need for a physician champion. Many staff members felt so strongly about a physician champion that they agreed that an institution should either “have one or don’t do the program.” The presence of a respected health care professional, preferably a physician, as the director of the program lends credibility to the program and decreases other physicians’ anxiety about referring their patients. Additionally, a respected physician can cut through red tape and leverage his or her influence with organizational and financial administrators to garner support for the program even if initially it is not financially rewarding.

Pre-packaged program materials: Because developing and validating a program is resource intensive, it is easier and more cost effective to use an already-developed and prepackaged program. In addition to promoting consistency in the format and content of material presented, ACT for Kids provides standard training for instructors that helps them understand the goals of the program and decide how best to deliver the information.

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