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Caregiver’s Knowledge Can Affect Hospital Stays

Recent research has found: : 

“We studied 72 children ages 2-17 who had been hospitalized with asthma,” says allergist Deepti Deshpande, MD, MPH, ACAAI member and lead author on the study. “Their caregivers completed a questionnaire when their child was admitted, when they were discharged and again four to six weeks after discharge. If the caregiver had poor asthma knowledge when their child was admitted, the odds were four times greater that the child’s length of hospital stay would be longer than two days. If caregiver asthma knowledge was good, the odds were strong that the child’s hospital stay would be less than two days.”

This does not surprise me in the least! If you do not know much about the disease you are not going to know how to treat it.

Asthma education during the hospital stay for children and their families included interactive material that covered general asthma knowledge as well as asthma triggers and ways to control them. During their child’s stay, caregivers were given demonstrations on correct inhaler technique and learned how to use an asthma action plan.

Education is key! This is great! I wish more doctor's offices would do this when your child/yourself is diagnosed with asthma! We were just handed scripts for inhalers and spacers. 

When yourself or your child was diagnosed with asthma, how much information did your dr give you? Or did you end up doing research on your own?

The research looked at caregivers of peds, but understanding asthma management can help adults and their caregivers too. AAFA's new online  has great information about managing your asthma.

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Comments 4

  • LK

    Melissa,  Really interesting article.  Good questions.  I'm trying to remember how much information my PCP doctor gave me when I was first diagnosed.  I was so shell shocked that I don't think I retained much of the verbal information he told me.  I was having a long, bad exacerbation so all I could think of was breathing.  

    If I am recalling correctly, my experience was very similar to yours.  Just handed scripts for meds and inhalers and not a whole lot of other information.  I wish there had been more.

  • Pljohns

    Same here-given scripts with no instructions or anything-I had to dig and learn on my own.  Definitely NOT the way you want to figure out things about asthma

  • Melissa G

    It is definitely frustrating when we are not given the proper tools to take care of our children or ourselves. 

  • Brenda Silvia-Torma

    My first realization hat I had asthma was when my doctor told me that I needed a pneumonia shot last December…and I said, "Why do I need a pneumonia shot?" And she replied "because you have asthma". I was completely shocked. My original diagnosis was given to me in 2013 when I first saw her, but I never actually heard the words, "You have asthma". Perhaps because I heard MILD and intermittent…and not the actual diagnosis. At that time, I only used an inhaler when I had bronchitis, and was never prescribed a daily controller. I never  had any memorable asthma symptoms…just a little shortness of breath when I had bronchitis and climbed the stairs.

    The education they provide to patients/families in this study is awesome and makes perfect sense. If a kiddo is in the hospital for a few days, it's a great time to do patient education, provide resources and make sure that the family has access to community supports. 

    Melissa, thanks for sharing!!

    Brenda