Children's Hospital Colorado

Asthma Action Plans at the Breathing Institute

Our experts treat respiratory and sleep disorders from the common to the complex, helping children and families breathe easier.

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What is an asthma action plan?

An asthma action plan (AAP) is a written plan that outlines how to manage your child’s asthma. We distribute AAPs to patients in the inpatient and outpatient settings. Your AAP:

  • Shows your child’s daily treatment, such as what kind of medicines to take and when to take them
  • Describes how to control asthma on a daily basis and how to handle worsening symptoms or attacks
  • Outlines when you should call your doctor
  • Clarifies when you should go to the emergency room or urgent care

If your child has asthma, all of the people who care for them should know about their AAP. These caregivers include babysitters and providers at daycare centers, schools and camps. By providing parents, family, friends and caregivers with a child’s AAP, they can help the child to follow the plan, manage their asthma and take the right actions if they have an asthma attack.

Why do we measure the percentage of families receiving an asthma action plan?

We measure the number of families receiving an AAP both in our outpatient clinics as well as when a child is discharged from one of our inpatient units after an asthma incident.

The providers at the Breathing Institute track and measure this data because:

  • It's important for kids and their families to have an AAP resource available at all times.
  • We’re committed to providing the necessary education and tools, so parents feel confident in their abilities to respond to their child’s asthma at home
  • It helps us clearly see the progress we’ve made and where we can improve

Inpatient asthma action plans

After a child has been hospitalized for asthma, it is very important to consistently manage symptoms. The lungs are at more risk than normal for another exacerbation, and it is important to make sure your child takes medicines exactly as prescribed and avoids triggers so your child can be healthy again.

This is why the experts at our Breathing Institute distribute AAPs to our patients upon discharge. Here you can see the percentage of inpatient admissions who were given an AAP upon discharge over the last five years. 

Yearly percentage of Asthma Action Plans distributed to inpatients

We have again surpassed our target of 90%, and we aim to keep increasing the number of AAPs distributed year after year.

Outpatient asthma action plans

Keeping your child symptom-free at home is also very important, so at the Breathing Institute, we make AAPs a priority during outpatient visits, as well. 

Yearly percentage of Asthma Action Plans distributed to outpatients


We’ve made great progress since making AAPs a priority. In 2023, we distributed an AAP during 95% of outpatient visits. We’ve improved by paying close attention to the data, educating our providers and team members, and continuing to work to get better.

View an example of our Asthma Action Plan (AAP) .pdf