The Severe Asthma Program at Boston Children’s Hospital provides care to children and young adults with severe persistent asthma who have difficulty with disease management or chronic systemic steroid use. “We’ve developed a one-stop shop for the highest risk, highest cost, highest morbidity population of pediatric asthma,” says pulmonologist Jonathan Gaffin, MD, MMSc, who conceived of the program after witnessing hundreds of patients crossing between Boston Children’s Division of Pulmonary Respiratory Diseases and Division of Allergy and Immunology.
Gaffin teamed up with allergist Sachin Baxi, MD, to bring together specialists from across the hospital to weigh in on the same cases — at the same time, in the same place. The team includes a dedicated pulmonologist, allergist, nurse, social worker, allergy technician, pulmonary function technician and administrator, as well as a gastroenterologist, otolaryngologist and endocrinologist for those patients that would benefit. “We tie up all the loose ends and hold them together,” says Gaffin.
Getting to the bottom of why each child’s asthma is so severe has been key to the program’s success since its 2013 launch — it’s the reason the team spends up to four hours with every new patient and the reason they rely on a strong nursing component to drive medication adherence and work through obstacles to getting care.
The program’s evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach was recently described in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society paper, “A Practical Approach to Severe Asthma in Children.” And with an IRB-approved clinical registry, Gaffin, Baxi and colleagues are continuing to study and improve the lives of children with severe asthma.
Join un in Boston on Mar. 16 for Pediatric Asthma & Allergy Updates for Primary Care Providers.