In a perfect world, parents would always be able to keep their children
safe from harm. It’s not a perfect world, however, and last year
alone more than 25 million kids visited Emergency Departments across the
country. That means if you’re a parent, chances are you and your
child have already made a visit to an ER—and if you haven’t,
you’re very likely to at some point.
The most common reasons for bringing children to the Emergency Department
include car accidents, falls, prolonged high fevers, persistent vomiting
and diarrhea that has led to dehydration, accidental poisonings and seizures.
In addition, says FMH Chief Pediatric Hospitalist Dr. Robert Wack, severe
asthma attacks are also one of the most common reasons that parents seek
emergency care for their kids.
“Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition that results in narrowed
airways, swelling of the lining of the lungs, tightening of the muscles,
and increased secretion of mucus in the airway,” says Dr. Wack.
“It’s those narrowed airways that make it difficult to breathe
and result in that “wheezing” noise. It can be a life-threatening
disease if not properly managed.”
One of the most common chronic disorders in childhood, asthma currently
affects more than 7 million children under the age of 18. Of the 500,000
hospitalizations last year from asthma-related complications, almost 35
percent of these occurred in patients younger than 18, making it the third
leading cause of pediatric hospitalizations nationwide.
According to Katherine Murray, Director of Mother-Baby Services at FMH,
the hospital has a certified program in place to provide the most up-to-date,
evidence-based care to children with asthma.
“Our pediatric unit has been recognized by the Joint Commission for
our disease-specific certification in asthma,” says Murray. “Children
seen at FMH for asthma-related episodes receive treatment based on the
standards recommended by the National Institute of Health, including daily
asthma education from their nurse. They leave the hospital with a home
management plan of care specifically designed to manage their unique situation,
and receive follow-up care from a member of our multidisciplinary, Pediatric
Asthma Care team.”
Members of the Pediatric Asthma Care team stay in touch with patients to
ensure that they are adhering to their home management plans of care,
following up with their primary care providers, and remaining healthy
enough to attend school.”
“We are committed to working with asthmatic patients and their families
to stabilize their conditions and keep them healthier,” says Murray.
“This program strengthens community confidence in the quality of
care they receive here at FMH, and provides consistent standards for the
medical management of patients with asthma.”