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The impact of pediatric asthma education on morbidity. Assessing the evidence. FREE TO VIEW

J Howland; H Bauchner; R Adair
Chest. 1988;94(5):964-969. doi:10.1378/chest.94.5.964
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We reviewed the literature evaluating pediatric asthma education interventions to assess their impact on morbidity (school absences and health care utilization). Thirteen studies were analyzed, most of which reported favorable outcomes. Of the ten studies reporting on school absences, only seven used tests of statistical significance when reporting on postintervention reductions, and of those, only two found a significant decrease in absenteeism. Similarly, among the studies reporting on utilization, not all used tests of statistical significance when reporting on postintervention decreases in physician visits, ER visits, and hospitalization. Only four of the ten studies used adequate sample sizes to detect a 20 percent reduction in school absences, and stratification of the sample by severity of asthma suggests that some programs do reduce health care utilization among those children with more severe disease. We conclude that the effectiveness of asthma educational programs on reducing school absences and health care utilization may be small. These programs are best directed toward children with moderate or severe disease. Finally, it is important for pediatricians, children with asthma, and their families to have realistic expectations about what these programs may accomplish.




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