The efficacy of asthma case management in an urban school district in reducing school absences and hospitalizations for asthma

J Sch Health. 2006 Aug;76(6):320-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2006.00120.x.


Pediatric asthma rates are reaching epidemic proportions, adversely affecting children's quality of life, educational potential, and health care costs, especially those in the inner city. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a school-based asthma case management (CM) approach with medically underserved inner-city children attending Memphis City schools. Fourteen elementary schools with high rates of asthma-related hospital utilization were grouped according to school size, percentage of children with asthma enrolled, and percentage of children eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Schools were randomized to either a nurse CM intervention or a usual care (UC) condition. The CM group included 115 students; 128 students were in the UC group. A longitudinal design was used to follow students' progress. Students were primarily African-American children diagnosed with asthma. In CM schools, nurse case managers conducted weekly group sessions incorporating the Open Airways curriculum, followed up on students' school absences, and coordinated students' asthma care with families, school personnel, and medical providers. In UC schools, students received routine school nursing services. CM students had fewer school absences than their counterparts in UC schools (mean 4.38 vs 8.18 days, respectively) and experienced significantly fewer emergency department visits (p < .0001) and fewer hospital days (p < .05) than UC students. No such differences existed before program initiation. Replication and follow-up in year 2 showed continued significant improvements. School-based nurse CM can achieve significant improvements in school attendance and medical utilization.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Black or African American
  • Caregivers / education
  • Case Management*
  • Curriculum
  • Emergency Treatment
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / methods
  • Male
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • School Nursing / methods*
  • Schools
  • Tennessee
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urban Population