Children's Hospital Boston, news release home-visit program for children with asthma reduced hospitalizations and emergency department visits, improved patient outcomes and saved $1.46 for every dollar spent, according to a recent study.

Researchers examined the impact of the Community Asthma Initiative, a community-based asthma care program for low-income families, developed and implemented in 2005 by a team at Children's Hospital Boston.

What The Study Revealed

The study included 283 families with children who had been hospitalized or who had made emergency department visits for asthma. Of those children, 43% had moderate or severe asthma. Over one year, the families received an average of 1.2 home visits.

After one year, the researchers saw a 68% decrease in asthma-related emergency department visits, an 85% drop in asthma-related hospitalizations, a 43% reduction in the percentage of children who had to limit physical activity on any day, a 41% decrease in reports of missed school days and a 50% fall in parents having to miss work to care for their child.

The percentage of children with an up-to-date asthma care plan rose from 53% to 82%.

These improvements were evident within six months and persisted for as long as two years, the study authors noted in a Children's Hospital Boston news release. The study appears in the journal Pediatrics.

Program Details And Savings

The program includes nurse case management and care coordination combined with home visits by a nurse or community health worker to educate families about asthma, assess the home for asthma triggers, and provide materials and services to reduce asthma attacks, such as HEPA vacuums (which have highefficiency air filters), special bedding covers and pest control.

The program cost $2,529 per child but yielded savings of $3,827 per child, due to fewer hospitalizations and emergency department visits. That means that $1.46 in health care costs was saved for every dollar spent on the program.

"This is a remarkable savings to society and reflects better health outcomes for the children," said program team co-leader Elizabeth Woods, MD, associate chief, division of adolescent/young adult medicine, Children's Hospital Boston.

Ancient Asthma Remedy

Indian frankincense may relieve asthma. Boswellia, a white resin from the frankincense tree, is a potent anti-inflammatory that may make breathing easier for people with asthma.

Recent finding: Breathing eased and frequency of attacks dropped in 70% of asthma patients who took boswellia daily for six weeks. Ask your doctor about taking 300 milligrams (mg) to 400 mg of a standardized extract with at least 60% boswellia acids three times a day.

Belly Fat Is Linked to Asthma

Norwegian University of Science and Technology researchers have found that people who had excess belly fat (but were not obese) were 1.4 times more likely to develop asthma than those who didn't have excess belly fat. Excess belly fat refers to waist circumference of at least 40 inches in men and 35 in women. Researchers are not sure why the link occurs, although fat cells are known to produce inflammatory compounds.

Want to Keep Reading?

Continue reading with a Health Confidential membership.

Sign up now Already have an account? Sign in