The Arkansas Blue & You Foundation for a healthier state announced a $150,000 grant to Arkansas Children’s School Nurse Academy to support the group’s asthma care initiative.
“Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) is grateful for the generosity of the Arkansas Blue & You Foundation and their investment in the Arkansas Children’s School Nurse Academy,” said Fred Scarborough, chief development officer for Arkansas Children’s and president of Arkansas Children’s Foundation. “This support will provide training and life-saving equipment for children in 150 school districts in Arkansas. Thanks to the support of our partners around the state and strategic philanthropic investments, we will make Arkansas a safer, healthier place to be a child.”
Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases for children in Arkansas, according to Anna Strong, executive director of child advocacy and public health. She said the Foundation’s investments help to build bridges between health and education to ensure children succeed. Blue & You Foundation has invested more than $1 million in recent years for other ACH programs.
The funds earmarked for the asthma program will provide care kits that include pediatric stethoscopes, emergency albuterol inhalers, chamber spacers and masks for albuterol as well as pose oximeters to measure the blood oxygen saturation level of a patient. ACH said other goals of the grant include training to 200 school nurses attending five School Nurse Academies in 2019, with additional 400 nurses trained in the following year.
ACH said more than 70,000 children across the state have asthma — that’s almost one in 10. ACH receives more than 8,500 asthma-related visits annually. In 2015-2016, $3 million was spent on 700 emergency visits for asthma exacerbation. For children, an asthma diagnosis often means missed school days and higher health care costs.
The Arkansas Department of Education reports 33,000 students are diagnosed with asthma in the public school system and school nurses are uniquely positions to provide direct care as well as counsel and educate patients on adherence to an asthma action plan, the release states.