Children's Hospital Colorado
Breathing Institute
Breathing Institute

Asthma Action Plans at the Breathing Institute

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. An AAP is designed to help parents manage their children's asthma. The 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 it's time to 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 post-asthma issue.

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 of another exacerbation, and it is important to make sure medicines are taken exactly as prescribed and triggers are avoided 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 six years. 

A bar chart with percentages on the y-axis and the years 2012 to 2017 on the x-axis. Each bar is blue and there is a gold line across 90% representing the goal. 2012 is 93%, 2013 is 95%, 2014 is 97%, 2015 is 96% 2016 is 95% and 2017 is 90.3%.

The upward trend shows we’ve hit 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. 

A bar chart with percentages on the y-axis and the years 2012 to 2017 on the x-axis. Each bar is blue and there is a gold Line across 90% representing the goal. 2012 is 79%, 2013 is 89%, 2014 is 76%, 2015 is 81%, 2016 IS 94% and 2017 is 96.14%.

In 2017, we distributed an AAP during 96.14% of outpatient visits; we’ve made great progress since making AAPs a priority.  We’ve improved by paying close attention to the data, educating our providers/staff and continuing to work to get better.

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