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Healthier Homes Are Necessary to Improve Pediatric Asthma

Alison Rodriguez
The environment children live in can often affect their pediatric asthma.
The environment children live in can often affect their pediatric asthma. Researchers recently compared where children lived who were hospitalized for asthma to licensing and inspections violations in Philadelphia—leading to findings that suggest that children who are hospitalized for asthma can be predicted based on where they live.

The recent article by Stefanie Seldin, JD, the executive director of Rebuilding Together Philadelphia, and published by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, discussed how pediatric patients that live in environments with asthma triggers will continue to suffer despite their medications. This problem has only lead to further healthcare costs and more time spent in the emergency department or the hospital for patients.

“In 2013, the US spent $81 billion on asthma management. But what if we could proactively use some of those dollars to improve housing to keep children out of the hospital? That was the question that brought us together to work on a project that can directly impact the health and well-being of the approximately 12,250 children living with asthma in the West Philadelphia community,” Seldin stated.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Community Asthma Prevention Program (CAPP), Rebuilding Together Philadelphia, along with other collaborators, used a grant to improve asthma outcomes related to unhealth housing in targeted West Philadelphia neighborhoods, known as the Home Preservation Initiative for Health Living (HPI). The program aimed to reduce asthma-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations by combining home repairs with CAPP’s home visit program that would include asthma education and environmental remediation. By using outcome data, HPI could make a case for Medicaid reimbursement for home repairs by showing healthcare cost savings from keeping kids healthy and out of the hospital, Seldin wrote.

The collaborative of HPI extended their impact through the awarding of the BUILD Health Challenge Award. BUILD—bold, upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven—intends to improve the health in communities that are negatively affected by factors like substandard housing conditions and limited resources for home repairs, according to the author.

The author noted the uniqueness of this collaboration as it combines both home asthma educational and limited environmental remediation visits with major home repairs.

“CAPP’s home visiting program is already successful at reducing asthma-related admissions. This group of doctors, healthy home repair specialists and community members will find out if adding home repairs can be even more successful in helping families control asthma in West Philadelphia,” concluded Seldin.

 
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