May 4, 2010

Breathing Easier

Empowering asthmatic kids and their families with education

If you or your child has asthma - you can breathe a little easier knowing that asthma is controllable and manageable, provided you have the right information, skills and tools.

The Children's Asthma Education Centre (CAEC) is aiming to put the right information, skills and tools into the hands of children and their parents - resources that will help control kids' asthma so they can do the activities they enjoy. This translates into less disruption, stress and fear to the kids, their parents and the family.

"Asthma is a very common condition in children. In Manitoba, about 12-15% of children are diagnosed with asthma. Uncontrolled and unmanaged, asthma does have an impact on caregivers' and children's quality of life, school attendance, activities and caregiver work absenteeism," says Cathy Gillespie, Clinical Nurse Specialist Asthma and Allergy for the Winnipeg Health Region. "Asthma education is an essential component of management. Anybody who has asthma should have the opportunity to receive asthma education."

The CAEC's nationally certified asthma educators are raising awareness about asthma control. Asthma educators have worked with families after an emergency room visit, during hospital admissions, in community settings, one on one at the CAEC, and in small group classes with children and their parents. Where age appropriate, children are also taught how to manage their asthma on their own.

Group classes are also a great opportunity for children to meet others who are experiencing similar challenges and emotions with their asthma, and make them feel a little less isolated.

What is Asthma?

That's one question the Children's Asthma Education Centre website answers. It provides a comprehensive look at asthma, treatment options and information about controlling and managing asthma.

Some interesting numbers for the Children's Asthma Education Centre in 2008-2009:

140,000 Hits in one month from local, national and international visitors to
625 new referrals requesting education from the Centre
505 participants in asthma education classes
112 individual outpatient teaching sessions
124 teaching sessions during hospitalization
68 children participated in the Roaring Adventures of Puff, an asthma education program taught in Winnipeg elementary schools
56 families seen by Certified Asthma Educators at least once in their primary care physician's office

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