Allercy and Asthma Health
The Official Publication of AAN - MA

Peak Performance USA Is Making a Difference in Schools


Respiratory therapists get involved and make a difference in their patients’ lives every day. The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), the professional association for respiratory therapists, has established a program to make it even easier to help the number of children who may need respiratory care to treat asthma. It’s called Peak Performance USA (PPUSA) and may be coming to a school near you.

PPUSA is an online program featuring a host of multimedia materials for teaching about the dangers and effects of asthma. The program invites school nurses, school staff, and respiratory therapists (RTs) to apply for the program online. RTs are matched up with a school nurse at one of the local schools to use the online materials to put together a school presentation about controlling asthma in children. As part of the program, the school receives a complimentary peak flow meter and valved holding chamber to demonstrate proper asthma monitoring and technique for taking asthma medications. These devices are for the school to keep.

“More than nine million children have asthma, and 14.7 million school days are missed annually due to the condition,” says AARC President Karen Stewart, MSc, RRT, FAARC, explaining why RTs want to help school nurses control asthma in the nation’s schools. “We want to reach as many school nurses and children as possible to provide education about monitoring and treating asthma emergencies.”

Mary Hart, RRT, AE-C, and Patrick Dunne, MEd, RRT, FAARC, helped the AARC prepare the program to reflect the latest national asthma guidelines from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). “Asthma is still one of the top childhood diseases identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and even with all the medications and devices to treat asthma that are available today, children are still going to the emergency room on a regular basis,” notes Hart. Dunne says, “Since asthma disproportionately affects children and adolescents, PPUSA will help ensure that schoolchildren get the proper treatment for asthma, which hopefully will reduce lost schooldays.”

The web site explains PPUSA and includes a step-by-step instruction guide for starting a program. It has great information for the school staff, patients/families and respiratory therapists who work in hospitals around the country.

Respiratory therapists are volunteering their time and expertise in lung health as a community service. PPUSA provides a wonderful opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of schoolchildren with asthma. Check out PPUSA today and talk with your school staff about bringing the program to your school.
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