Asthma-Related Medical Costs Reduced By More Than $13,000 Following Participation In National Jewish Pediatric Day Program, Study Shows

May 14, 1997

DENVER-Children with severe asthma who receive medical care at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center Pediatric Day Program have asthma-related medical costs--such as hospital stays, emergency room and doctor visits--reduced from an average of $21,370 a year to an average of $7,740 a year, researchers found. In addition, participation in the program can reduce the number of annual hospital stays by 66 percent.

The study results will be presented at the 1997 American Thoracic Society meeting, May 16-21, in San Francisco. Families of 101 children--9 months-16 years old--are participating in the ongoing study. Children and/or parents responded to questions about steroid use, symptom severity, quality of life for the child and parent, and a perceived level of competence in managing asthma symptoms. Researchers collected information at admission to the program, and three, six and 12 month intervals. They will continue to follow the families for two years after they complete the program.

"The reduction in yearly medical costs are very important in societal terms and to managed care," said Donna Bratton, M.D., medical director of the Pediatric Day Program and an author of the study. "Five percent of asthma patients contribute to 70-80 percent of all asthma costs. These patients are very sick and have failed traditional outpatient management. Now these children are managing their asthma with less medication. Some had devastating side-effects caused by long-term steroid use."

The study also found the children use steroids 25 percent less every year following participation in the program. Steroid side-effects include growth suppression, weight gain, thinning bones, high blood pressure and cataracts. By taking part in the Pediatric Day Program, parents and their children with asthma learn new ways to control the disease and have a more normal family life. The program uses physicians, psychologists, nurses, and movement and art therapists to help patients learn about and control asthma, instead of letting asthma control them.

"For severe, chronically ill children, collaborative multi-disciplinary care can improve both medical outcomes and quality of life for the patient," said Leslie Gavin, Ph.D., interim co-director of the Pediatric Day Program and an author of the study. "Many of our children and families have been living compromised lives and accumulating enormous medical expenses. Our program can reduce these expenses and increase quality of life."

Children in the program had a 38 percent decrease in asthma symptoms, while parents experienced a 16 percent increase in their perceived competence of managing their child's illness. Quality of life for the child and the parent increased 31 percent and 22 percent, respectively. In the study, quality of life included how symptoms interfered with daily activities.

"Our research shows there's a significant decrease in the number of symptoms and how much symptoms interfere with a patient's life after participating in the program," Gavin said. "There is a significant increase in the parent and child's quality of life."

National Jewish Health

Related Asthma Articles from Brightsurf:

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Researchers make asthma breakthrough
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have made a breakthrough that may eventually lead to improved therapeutic options for people living with asthma.

Physics vs. asthma
A research team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases has collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., Canada, France, and Germany to determine the spatial structure of the CysLT1 receptor.

New knowledge on the development of asthma
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have studied which genes are expressed in overactive immune cells in mice with asthma-like inflammation of the airways.

Eating fish may help prevent asthma
A scientist from James Cook University in Australia says an innovative study has revealed new evidence that eating fish can help prevent asthma.

Academic performance of urban children with asthma worse than peers without asthma
A new study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows urban children with poorly controlled asthma, particularly those who are ethnic minorities, also suffer academically.

Asthma Controller Step Down Yardstick -- treatment guidance for when asthma improves
The focus for asthma treatment is often stepping up treatment, but clinicians need to know how to step down therapy when symptoms improve.

Asthma management tools improve asthma control and reduce hospital visits
A set of comprehensive asthma management tools helps decrease asthma-related visits to the emergency department, urgent care or hospital and improves patients' asthma control.

Asthma linked to infertility but not among women taking regular asthma preventers
Women with asthma who only use short-acting asthma relievers take longer to become pregnant than other women, according to research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma?
A team of experts from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston examined the current information available from many different sources on diagnosing and managing mild to moderate asthma in adults and summarized them.

Read More: Asthma News and Asthma Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to