Goal 1: Establish a process to identify students with asthma.
Many schools have processes in place to identify students with anaphylaxis but not asthma. Once schools understand the seriousness of asthma and how students are affected adapting existing protocols to apply to asthma is fairly simple.. It is important for all school personnel including supply teachers, aids, bus drivers, lunch room and schoolyard supervisors to be aware of which students have asthma. This can only be achieved through a collaborative effort amongst parents and schools.
Things to Consider:
- At many schools, the registration form asks if the child has any health concerns, but often parents do not think of listing asthma, especially if their child only has mild asthma. Therefore many children are not identified in the office as being asthmatic. It is important that registration forms ask parents to identify that their child has asthma. Request that an individual asthma management plan be completed which includes triggers, medication use and warning signs.
- Maintaining up to date health and emergency information is the responsibility of the parent.
Options for Improving Identification of Students with Asthma
There are several things schools can do to accomplish this. Some examples are included below:
- Include a question about asthma on the School Registration Form. For example, Does ;your child have asthma?
- List asthma specifically under 'medical conditions' on school health forms to prompt parents to include it
- Include a section about asthma in a Fall newsletter. Ask parents to notify the school if their child has asthma by returning a tear-off portion and/or calling the school office. (Newsletter samples are included in the CAFS Resource Kit.)
- Once students with asthma are identified encourage schools to print and distribute the School Asthma Information Package (see CAFS Resource Kit CD under "Resources Goal 1") which should include, at a minimum, a Student Asthma Management Plan form for the parents to complete and return.
- Make copies of completed Student Asthma Management Plan for individual students with asthma and share with relevant teachers.
- When information about students with asthma is received by the school, the office needs to have a process in place to ensure the information is entered into their database so information can be accessed quickly.
- From the database, the office can create a list of all students with "health concerns", including asthma, and share it with staff at an early staff meeting. Develop a process for communicating with staff regarding students with asthma and who carry inhalers. (e.g., staff meeting in Fall; quarterly "health" updates during staff meetings)
- Ensure school staff talk with parents about their child's asthma on a regular basis.
- Have parents update a general health form/registration form annually. Preferably this form would ask directly about asthma, use of inhalers, triggers and warning signs of worsening asthma.
- Have parents complete an Emergency/Trip form or Health and Safety form at the beginning of each school year or prior to a field trip.
- Posting a photograph of each child (with permission of parents) with a health issue in the staff room/office for easy identification. It is important to be conscious of privacy and confidentiality when posting this information in the office. If possible, a wall not visible to the general public is best.
- Refer to CAFS Resource Kit:
- Sample Newsletter insert with tear-off "Does your child have asthma?" etc.