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Wolfson Children's Hospital receives Asthma-Friendly Hospital recognition from the Florida Asthma Coalition

Jacksonville, FL —

Recognition given to hospitals providing preventive education and the highest level of care for children with asthma

The Florida Asthma Coalition, which works to improve asthma outcomes and reduce associated costs for Floridians through various interventions, is recognizing Wolfson Children's Hospital as an Asthma-Friendly Hospital for creating a safe and healthy environment for their patients with asthma. Wolfson Children's is one of only four Asthma-Friendly Hospitals in Florida.

The Asthma-Friendly Hospital recognition is awarded to hospitals that excel in asthma management, reducing health risks for asthma patients, preventing and minimizing asthma-related ER visits and hospitalizations, and reducing readmissions for acute asthma episodes. They accomplish this through preventive education of children and families through schools and other settings, as well as during patient care.

Team members at Wolfson Children's met all five criteria set forth by the Florida Asthma Coalition:

  • Professional development for nurses and respiratory therapists in asthma management
  • Professional development for hospital physicians in asthma management
  • Educating families on how to use an Asthma Action Plan
  • Providing self-management education to patients and their families
  • Offering public education, workshops and support services for patients and families.

Taking these steps allows Wolfson Children's to create a safe and healthy environment for patients with asthma, both in the hospital and in their homes.

More than six million children under the age of 18 in the U.S. live with asthma, an average of one in 10. In Jacksonville's 2013 and 2016 Community Health Needs Assessments — reports created by all not-for-profit hospitals in Jacksonville to address unmet needs in our care areas — uncontrolled asthma was one of the top pediatric health concerns discussed by community members and hospital staff.

"Asthma is the No. 1 reason for children missing school and the third-leading reason for child hospitalization," said Carey Smith, RRT, asthma educator for THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health at Wolfson Children's. "At an Asthma-Friendly Hospital, there is a dedicated clinical staff trained to treat children with asthma and ease the anxieties of their parents with wraparound services and support. It's imperative for us to serve the needs of our patients as the region's only children's hospital. Asthma is a chronic disease, so providing education is crucial to managing it for a lifetime."

"Parents with children who have been diagnosed with asthma, or have children who present with asthma symptoms, can be assured this facility uses evidence-based guidelines supported by the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program," said Amanda Kellum, RRT, director for pulmonary care services for Wolfson Children's Hospital and Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville. "Our patients and families are not only medically treated but also educated regarding their disease, during their hospital stay, to help them self-manage their disease and reduce their number of hospital visits."

While the asthma-friendly designation is something new to Wolfson Children's, asthma management has been a priority for years.

The Community Asthma Partnership was founded in 1992 by volunteers who saw a need to provide asthma resources to our community in Jacksonville, Florida. In January 2007, CAP merged with Wolfson Children's Hospital and became known as the Community Asthma Partnership at Wolfson Children's Hospital (CAP-W) to expand existing programs and add new services within our community.

CAP-W offers programs to help children learn warning signs, eliminate triggers and understand self-management of asthma. The A² Asthma Action Asthma-Friendly School Program teaches students, teachers and staff about asthma symptoms, triggers and emergency response. The program also offers comprehensive case management and connections to primary care physicians to assure successful asthma management for students with asthma.

CAP-W hosts free community asthma workshops for children and parents who have visited the emergency room for asthma to learn about self-management. High-risk patients also receive care coordination to oversee continuity of care between home, health care providers and schools.

Wolfson Children's has seen a 31 percent reduction in asthma-related admissions from 2013 to 2017 as a result of these education programs.

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. Read more at Asthma-Friendly Hospitals.