Managing respiratory emergencies at school: A county-wide stock inhaler program.

Affiliation

Lowe AA(1), Gerald JK(2), Clemens CJ(3), Stern DA(4), Gerald LB(5).
Author information:
(1)Department of Health Promotion Sciences, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz; Asthma & Airway Disease Research Center, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Asthma & Airway Disease Research Center, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz; Department of Community Environment and Policy, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.
(3)Department of Health Promotion Sciences, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz; Department of Pediatrics, The University of Arizona College of Medicine, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.
(4)Asthma & Airway Disease Research Center, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.
(5)Department of Health Promotion Sciences, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz; Asthma & Airway Disease Research Center, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: A total of 15 states allow schools to manage respiratory emergencies among multiple students by using a single albuterol inhaler (stock inhaler) paired with a disposable holding chamber. OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to evaluate implementation barriers and facilitators, as well as satisfaction with a stock inhaler program across K through12 schools in Pima County, Arizona. METHODS: All public, charter, private, and parochial schools were offered supplies, web-based training, and technical assistance at no cost. The RE-AIM (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance) framework was used to evaluate program implementation. School documentation logs were reviewed, school health personnel were surveyed, and a convenience sample of health personnel were interviewed. Chi-square tests evaluated categoric outcomes and Poisson hurdle regression examined stock inhaler use by school organization type, grade levels served, and type of school health personnel employed. RESULTS: In all, 229 schools (68%) participated, reaching 82% of students in the county. A total of 152 schools (66%) used a stock inhaler, accounting for 1038 events. The mean number of puffs administered was 2.7 (SD = 1.2) per event, and most events (79%) involved students with asthma. Although most events (83.9%) resulted in the student returning to class, 15.6% resulted in students being sent home. Only 6 events resulted in 911 calls, and 5 of these led to an ambulance transport. School health personnel reported high levels of satisfaction, and all schools renewed participation for a second year. Program costs were $156 per school. CONCLUSION: With technical assistance, stock inhaler programs can be feasibly implemented by schools in a wide range of settings, thereby increasing their capacity to safely manage respiratory emergencies.