Objective: To evaluate an asthma education program for children with asthma that is delivered in their school by certified asthma educators from a local hospital-based asthma center.
Study design: Randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Twenty-six elementary schools located in a suburb of Toronto.
Participants: A total of 256 children in grades 2 to 5 with asthma and their parents were randomized to control and experimental groups.
Intervention: Children in the experimental group received the “Roaring Adventures of Puff” asthma education program over the course of six weekly 1-h sessions. Those in the control group continued receiving usual care.
Measurements and results: Data collection involved measuring asthma quality of life, self-efficacy for managing asthma, school absenteeism, days of interrupted activity, health services use, and parental loss of time from work. Quality of life and self-efficacy data were collected from the children at baseline and 2 months. Telephone parental interviews conducted over 1 year were used to collect data on the remaining variables. Unpaired t test, analysis of variance, and χ2 test were used to determine whether differences existed between the groups. The results are reported as the mean ± SD. The experimental group demonstrated higher scores than the control group for self-efficacy (3.6 ± 0.7 vs 3.8 ± 0.9, respectively; p < 0.05) and quality of life (5.0 ± 1.4 vs 5.5 ± 1.4, respectively; p < 0.05). At 1 year, the experimental group demonstrated fewer mean urgent health-care visits (2.5 ± 2.5 vs 1.7 ± 1.9 visits per year, respectively; p < 0.01), days of missed school (4.3 ± 5.7 vs 3.0 ± 4.4 days per year, respectively; p > 0.05), and days of interrupted activity (9.1 ± 10.5 vs 6.2 ± 7.3 days per year; p < 0.01) related to asthma than the control group. There were no differences between the groups for parental work absenteeism or scheduled asthma visits.
Conclusion: Providing an asthma education program to children in their school can significantly improve quality of life and reduce the burden of childhood asthma.