The Asthma Wellness Program focuses on keeping high-risk pediatric asthma patients out of the emergency department and hospital.

Breathe deeply

Caring for children with complex asthma

issue 24 | Summer 2015

Difficult-to-treat asthma results in hospital admissions, emergency department visits, missed school and work, and an inability to engage in physical activity. In some cases, recurrent pneumonia or frequent respiratory infections can actually be traced back to an underlying asthma diagnosis.

The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital Asthma Wellness Program is specifically designed for high-risk pediatric asthma patients.

"We've crafted our program around the needs of children 3 years of age and older who have had at least two emergency room visits or an inpatient admission for asthma," says Marc Hershenson, M.D., chief of the division of Pediatric Pulmonology at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

The Mott team works closely with each child's family and primary care providers to manage complex asthma through a robust yearlong protocol utilizing intensive education and case management. Emphasis is focused on decreasing emergency department visits and admissions. Each child in the program is seen by a pediatric pulmonologist, nurse educator, respiratory therapist and social worker.

"We take a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to treating children with complex asthma," says Hershenson. "We've found that to be the best way to help minimize the complications of asthma for these children. Causes of poor asthma control can range from failure to use an inhaler correctly to co-morbidities such as gastroesophageal reflux or fungal sensitization. On the other hand, some referrals for difficult-to-treat asthma turn out to have other diseases like primary ciliary dyskinesia or recurrent aspiration. Our multidisciplinary model allows us to provide accurate, comprehensive, multifaceted care for each child."

Also In This Article:

The U-M pediatric pulmonology team offers expertise in pulmonary conditions ranging from common breathing disorders to rare conditions.