Children's Hospital Colorado

Community Asthma Initiatives

A boy with brown hair breathes out while his doctor watches in the background. Best Children's Hospital by US News Pulmonology 2020-1 Badge

Treating asthma takes a whole community. That’s why Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Asthma Program works with patients, families, care providers, schools and other community partners to keep children healthy, active and focused on learning.

The Colorado Comprehensive School-Centered Asthma Program (AsthmaCOMP)

The AsthmaCOMP Program (previously called Colorado Step Up Asthma) is a school-centered program designed to help students control asthma. The program brings together school districts, environmental agencies, health departments and other organizations.

AsthmaCOMP’s patient education and outreach coordinators provide Open Airways for Schools programming, consisting of small group and individual training on asthma self-management skills. We also support school staff and communicate with families and providers. This team offers additional support for students with poorly controlled or high-risk asthma.

AsthmaCOMP helps schools create asthma-friendly environments by improving indoor air quality and monitoring outdoor air quality. Another component of the AsthmaCOMP program is the technical assistance and professional skills development training program. We offer advanced training to school nurses and their staffs to promote best practices for managing asthma at school.

Who is eligible for the AsthmaCOMP Program?

The program is a free service offered to students in more than 40 schools throughout Aurora, Denver, Brighton, Englewood, Mapleton and Sheridan public schools. Following the success of AsthmaCOMP in metropolitan school districts, the program has expanded to other areas in Colorado. We offer AsthmaCOMP in Colorado Springs, Greeley, Lamar, Grand Junction, Montezuma and Cortez.

We focus on elementary schools with high asthma rates and students at risk for health problems. Students age 5 to 14 who attend these schools and have uncontrolled asthma are eligible for our asthma education and monitoring program. School staff members identify children who are eligible for the program.

The trained asthma educators who lead this program work closely with specialists from Children’s Colorado’s Breathing Institute. They are bilingual (English and Spanish) and enthusiastic about helping children and families.

How can the AsthmaCOMP Program help my family?

AsthmaCOMP supports students in getting a quick-relief medication and an asthma care plan specifically for school. They also receive an “asthma toolkit,” containing a spacer device and peak flow meter, to help them learn to treat asthma independently. We also help families access asthma treatments at home and we make home visits when needed.

As a result, kids in the program have fewer asthma symptoms, miss fewer days of school and go to the emergency department less often.

How does the AsthmaCOMP Program impact the community?

AsthmaCOMP has reached more than 5,000 Coloradans through asthma awareness nights, health fairs and school events. The program’s results get positive reviews from parents, students, school nurses, principals and community healthcare providers. About 200 students participate each year.

Our team partners with local health providers, led by Stanley Szefler, MD, Director of the Pediatric Asthma Research Program at Children’s Colorado. We also train school nurses to become certified asthma educators so they’re better prepared to care for students with asthma.

Learn more about the AsthmaCOMP Program

To learn more, call 720-777-5800 (se habla Español).

The Just Keep Breathing Program

The Just Keep Breathing Program is an asthma home visit program for children with difficult-to-control asthma. If your child has seen an asthma specialist and still struggles to control asthma, they may qualify for the program. Each child with asthma has unique triggers. Sometimes families have triggers in their homes without knowing it. Through Just Keep Breathing, health navigators visit homes to assess these triggers, identify barriers to treatment and help families create self-management plans.

"We work with families to understand how their environment, understanding of asthma and home life affect kids’ breathing. If we can understand that, I think we can do a better job of improving their health."
Monica Federico, MD

Who is eligible for Just Keep Breathing?

Just Keep Breathing is a free program for children ages 2-17 and families who:

  • Live in the Denver metro area (within 20 miles of the Anschutz Medical Campus)
  • ave had two emergency department visits or one hospital stay in the past year due to asthma
  • Speak English or Spanish at home

How does the Just Keep Breathing program work?

As part of the program, you receive:

  • 3 to 5 home visits with a pediatric nurse and a health navigator
  • Asthma education specific to your family
  • In-home assessment of triggers that may make asthma worse
  • Free products to use at home to lessen triggers (such as asthma-friendly cleaning supplies and HEPA filter vacuum cleaners)
  • Support from a health navigator, nurse and social worker

What can my family expect during home visits?

A nurse specializing in asthma care and a health navigator will visit you at home three to five times over six months. These visits will be spaced about a month apart.

  • First visit: We visit your home or a neutral location to meet your family, learn how you’re managing asthma and set treatment goals.
  • Second visit: We ask you to show us around your home so we can find asthma triggers.
  • Other visits: We help you and your family address any concerns about managing asthma or possible triggers in your home. We can also communicate with your child’s school and healthcare providers about your child’s asthma care.
  • Next steps: We let your child’s primary healthcare provider know that your family is participating in Just Keep Breathing and we notify them when you have finished the program.
  • More support: If you need further support after the fifth visit, we work with your child’s primary healthcare provider to identify to best resources for your family.

Learn more about the Just Keep Breathing program

We welcome questions from families and healthcare providers. Call Just Keep Breathing at 720-777-6181 (se habla Español) or email justkeepbreathing@childrenscolorado.org.

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