School Clinics Receive Donations of Nebulizer Machines, Tubing to Treat Students with Asthma | Health
Thanks to a generous donation from Barnes Healthcare and the Asthma Coalition of Georgia, the District received a donation of nebulizer machines and tubing for school asthma management. The presentation by the Asthma Coalition of Georgia took place during a School Nurse Education/Training Day on Monday, October 14, at The Medical Center of Central Georgia's Peyton Anderson Health Center.
Jon Ramsey of the Asthma Coalition of Georgia arranged for the nebulizers and tubing to be donated to Bibb County schools after learning the District had a need for the machines earlier this year. The donation of nebulizer machines enables parents of students with asthma to send in medication but leave their nebulizer machine and tubing at home.
“The nebulizer machine is quite bulky,” said Schoolhouse Health Program Coordinator Stacy Carr. “Insurance will normally only pay for one, so say your small child is bringing the machine to school and they accidentally forget it on a Friday, then they have no equipment at home over the weekend, or if they if ride the bus the parents are afraid they’ll lose it, so a lot of them are not getting treatments at school that they could benefit from. If they had a nebulizer that could stay at school and some tubing that could stay at school, then they would just have to bring their medicine from the doctor. It’s a huge benefit.”
Six schools in the District already had nebulizer machines. The donations will provide for nebulizer machines and tubing at the 35 remaining schools in the District, meaning all schools will now have nebulizer machines on hand. This is beneficial because about 10 to 50 children at each school suffer from asthma, Ms. Carr said. At least 50 percent of those take nebulizer treatments, but only about 10 percent to 20 percent currently receive the treatments at school.
Ms. Carr said having the nebulizer machines at schools also should help cut down on absenteeism.
“A lot of children miss school because of asthma flare-ups and sometimes parents will tell us they kept their children home to give them nebulizer treatments,” Ms. Carr said. “They’re staying at home to get these treatments because the parents are afraid of sending the machine to school because they only have one machine – or maybe their machine is not working as well so they go to the doctor’s office to get treatments. If they don’t have that treatment at school then they keep them out the whole day – and it’s only every four hours, so they keep them out the whole day for maybe two treatments, and they tend to miss a lot of school days.”
The nebulizer treatments only take about 15 minutes, after which time students would be able to return to class.
“We can go ahead and treat these children just like we can with Epinephrine (EpiPens) if we have an order of Epinephrine to give a child that’s having an allergic reaction,” Mr. Ramsey said.
All District school nurses and select staff participated in the School Nurse Education/Training Day. Training included a mandatory session on diabetes in order to comply with House Bill 879 - School Management of Students with Diabetes, which was passed in July 2012. Diabetes Healthways, a service of The Medical Center of Central Georgia, provided school staff with the mandatory training. School nurses also attended an educational presentation on asthma management and allergic reactions by Dr. Jeffrey Langford.