High-risk asthma patients at Akron Children’s who live in Summit, Medina and Portage counties are eligible for a collaborative program that is bridging the gap between the hospital and home to help families identify and address potential environmental asthma triggers.
Known as the Managing Asthma Triggers at Home (MATH) Program, it’s a collaboration between Akron Children’s and Summit County Public Health. The MATH Program is evidence-based and helps families eliminate asthma triggers such as mold or pests in the home.
Participating families receive a home assessment from Summit County Public Health. Based on the findings, they are offered free services, such as professional home cleaning, an air purifier for the child’s room and pest control services. Families also receive clean home kits that include a HEPA vacuum and filter unit, dehumidifier, new furnace filter, and mattress and pillow covers.
During the year-long enrollment period, families receive monthly reminder text messages and quarterly home visits to keep them on track in managing their child’s asthma. At the end of the enrollment period, they receive a year’s worth of clean home supplies.
“By addressing social determinants of health through the MATH Program, we’ve been able to decrease emergency room visits and hospital admissions for children with high-risk asthma,” said P. Cooper White, MD, medical director of Locust Pediatric Care Group, who co-leads Akron Children’s Asthma Program with Starla Martinez, MD, director of the Robert T. Stone, MD, Respiratory Center.
Based on 50 patients enrolled in the MATH Program, this collaborative effort has generated a 78% decrease in the number of ER and hospitalization events.
In addition to issues in the home environment, another challenge these families face is having access to asthma medications and ensuring they are used properly.
“We know that it’s often difficult to take medicines every single day, so we partner with our patients and their families to simplify their asthma treatment as much as possible. Patients do better in the long run if they consistently take their asthma medicines, so we’re here to help any way we can,” said Dr. Martinez.