For Wade Whitney, 10, it was a rite of spring to be hospitalized because of allergy-induced asthma. However, 2016 marked the first time in three years that rite was annulled. What made the difference? Camp Wheeze Away at Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children, 20 miles south of Killeen, an annual camp sponsored by Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center.
Participants in this free, five-day overnight excursion are asthma patients who have been hospitalized within the past year. Campers receive at least one hour of asthma education every day and discover that with proper asthma management they can enjoy life without physical limitations.
Wade has attended the camp the past two summers. In addition, he is a regular at the hospital’s bimonthly clinic on life-threatening asthma, where a pulmonologist and allergist jointly test for allergies and lung function and educate patients on how to manage severe asthma. The program also provides asthma education for local school nurses and hosts quarterly community asthma classes.
A major cause of disability, asthma is twice as prevalent among children than under the age of 18 than it is among adults.
Stacie Walker-Posvar is a full-time certified asthma educator who coordinates outreach and education about asthma within the system and in the community. She identifies patients at risk for uncontrolled asthma and begins intervention. The goal is to reduce recurrent emergency department visits and hospitalizations, as well as school absenteeism.
The programs are important weapons in Baylor Scott & White Health’s multi-front war against pediatric asthma, the most common chronic childhood disease. A major cause of disability, asthma is twice as prevalent among children than under the age of 18 than it is among adults. Up to 75 percent of these children have poorly controlled asthma. Household finances, family priorities and parental undervaluation of their children’s asthma symptoms are also factors in poorly controlled asthma.
Wade is a testament to the asthma programs’ success. He has been using his rescue inhaler less and is less likely to miss playing sports during peak allergy seasons. He’s also a very happy camper.
For more information on Children’s Asthma and Respiratory care at McLane’s Children’s Medical Center, visit here.