Understanding of Asthma Management: School/Daycare Support and Work

Although parents have learned methods to diminish the effects of environmental triggers, they continued to experience situations that were beyond their control. These included exposures at friends’ or relatives homes.
“We couldn’t even go to restaurants because they have part of it [where] you smoke [and] one part you can’t. So no matter what, if you’re in there… smoke is in the environment and the child gets sick. And [if] you complain about it, well it’s not a smoke-free environment.” Smoke-free restaurants and public locations continue to be a challenge for parents of children with asthma. Many believed community education of environmental triggers of asthma would assist in eliminating exposure and improving the family and child’s quality of life.
“The problem I had like S— said, the school leaves it up to your child to be responsible. That’s a kid. You can’t leave it up to them.” The level of asthma support and knowledge at schools experienced by caregivers varied greatly, as did their experiences with institutional willingness to support children with asthma. This variable asthma support angered some parents who believed they were required to justify the child’s school absences and were questioned by schools for keeping their child at home in bad weather or at signs of worsening symptoms. Parents also reported a lack of school nurses, which they believed impacted the ability of the school to administer asthma medication care.
Parents voiced need for use of asthma action plans at schools. Parents who had received an asthma action plan from their physician thought it would also be a helpful tool for asthma management at the school, providing the child’s specific asthma care instructions. Some parents were strong advocates at the school and had provided asthma information and initiated conversations about the needs and abilities of their child to self-medicate.

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