PCORI has identified childhood asthma in African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos as an important research topic. Asthma affects African-American and Hispanic/Latino people at higher rates than whites, but African-American and Hispanic/Latino children are less likely to receive recommended care. Patients, clinicians, and others want to learn: What interventions will best help doctors and families assure that children receive the care recommended by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute? To answer this question, PCORI launched a funding initiative in 2013 on Treatment Options for African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos with Uncontrolled Asthma. This research project is one of the studies PCORI awarded as part of this program.
This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asthma affects 1 in 10 children in the United States. Children’s asthma symptoms can be affected by
- Their overall health
- How they use asthma medicine
- Factors in their homes and neighborhoods, such as tobacco smoke and pollen
- The kind of health care they receive
Chicago has higher rates of asthma than many other parts of the United States, especially for African-American children. When a child’s asthma is not well controlled, the child’s parents may have to take the child to the emergency room (ER) for treatment. Researchers don’t know whether educating parents about asthma in the ER or at home helps control a child’s asthma symptoms.
In this study, the research team wants to find out whether a child’s asthma is better controlled than usual if the family receives a written guide to help manage the child’s asthma after the family leaves the ER. The research team also wants to know if having a community health worker visit the home and provide education helps improve a child’s asthma more than receiving this written guide alone. The team is also looking at whether getting these types of help affect the caregivers’ satisfaction with their ability to carry out their roles in the family and the community.
Who can this research help?
Results from this study can help doctors, healthcare systems, and families control children’s asthma.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is recruiting 373 children and their parents (or other caregivers). The children are ages 5 to 11, speak English or Spanish, and have uncontrolled asthma when they visit one of six participating ERs in Chicago, Illinois. The research team is assigning the children by chance to get one of three treatments:
- ER education. A member of the research team works in the ER with doctors to complete a paper-based guide with instructions designed to help the children get better control of asthma at home. A member of the research team reviews this information with the caregivers and patients before they leave the ER.
- ER education and home visits. Patients and caregivers are getting the same written guide in the ER as patients in the first treatment group get. In addition, a community health worker visits the children’s homes to help the families identify things like dust or pollen that make the child’s asthma worse.
- Enhanced regular care. Children get usual care in the ER and also receive education about how to use an inhaler. Patients get two spacers, which make it easier to use an inhaler, free of charge.
As part of the study, children and their caregivers are filling out surveys about how asthma affects their daily lives. Researchers also are looking at:
- How often the children have to go to the ER or hospital
- How well-controlled the children’s asthma symptoms are
- How the children use the inhalers
- How often caregivers fill their children’s prescriptions for asthma medications
- How families reduce asthma triggers at home
- How asthma affects caregivers’ quality of life
The research team is working with community groups, caregivers, healthcare providers, community health workers, and the public health department in Chicago to plan the study and decide what to measure.