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Enhancing School Asthma Action Plans: Qualitative Results From Southeast Minnesota Beacon Stakeholder Groups

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ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND

This study explores ways southeast Minnesota schools currently address asthma problems, identifies areas for improvement, and assesses the potential value of asthma action plans (AAPs) in schools.

METHODS

Focus groups were used to query stakeholder groups on asthma care in schools. Groups were held separately for elementary school personnel, parents of elementary school children with asthma, and health professionals (N = 103). Transcripts were analyzed by hand and by using NVivo 9 software.

RESULTS

Overall 103 stakeholders participated in focus groups. Major themes were (1) Communication; no uniform way of exchanging information between schools and health professionals. (2) Asthma Control Continuum; students require individualized instructions and information related to their asthma care. (3) Policy/Protocol; school staff roles and rules vary and are unclear. (4) Self-Reliance; older children self-manage their asthma and are unknown until they need emergent support. Solution recommended included AAPs used systematically with a method to communicate back from schools to physicians and parents.

CONCLUSIONS

The AAP may solve several of the school's concerns regarding their ability to provide asthma support in school. However, the AAP must reach the school, and that is currently not happening. In addition, schools would like tools and systems to assess asthma control and share information back with parents and physicians.

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