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An educational program called the Childhood Asthma Project (CAP) was implemented to reduce morbidity among Hispanic children with chronic asthma, the most frequent chronic childhood illness in the U.S., affecting 6% of school-age children and causing 23% of elementary school absences. Parents of Mexican-American children are less likely than non-Hispanic parents to believe that their child has asthma, and are more likely to use the emergency room as the primary source of medical care. For a variety of reasons, minority children, including Hispanics, experience severe asthma more frequently and ensure a greater degree of functional morbidity than non-minority families. For this program, 73 children ages 6-16 participated in four phases: baseline assessment, one-on-one child-centered education, application and maintenance. Dr. Ramirez’s role focused on one educational aspect of the program: the development of videotapes that provided peer modeling by showing Hispanic children with asthma performing self-management tasks.
San Antonio, Texas
The initial trial of the Childhood Asthma Project CAP indicates that it was logistically feasible to implement an individualized asthma education program for a large number of patients using an education model that stresses peer role modeling and proactive self-management. Parent and child evaluations were very positive and attrition was low. Twelve months after the intervention ended, a majority of parents indicated that the CAP educational program was the primary influence on asthma management during the past year. Although CAP was implemented in an out-patient ambulatory care facility, this approach to asthma education could be implemented in other settings, including physician offices, community clinics, schools or as a home-based program.
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