Research Tip: Caregivers Lack Medications, Knowledge to Manage Baltimore Children’s Asthma

Baby breathing into a inhaler with a spacer

A new study found that fewer than half of interviewed caregivers were prepared to administer medication for their child’s asthma. Credit: iStock

In a new study, Johns Hopkins researchers found that fewer than half of interviewed caregivers for Baltimore preschool children with asthma were prepared to administer medication for routine management or emergency response to a child’s chronic condition.

A report on the study was published Aug. 7 in Pediatrics.

For the study, researchers defined medication readiness as the physical availability in the home of medications that were not expired and had remaining doses. In addition, the researchers asked if each caregiver could correctly identify whether a medication was a rescue or controller medication, and if the caregiver could state any dosing instructions for the medication.

The study included 288 caregivers of children between ages 2 and 6 from predominantly African-American families in Baltimore City Head Start programs from April 2011 to November 2016. Each caregiver participated in a two-hour, in-home interview and answered questions about asthma medications the children had been prescribed, medication beliefs and controller medication adherence.

The researchers found that only 60 percent of the children had a rescue medication and fewer than 50 percent had a controller medication that met five readiness index criteria. The authors suggest that assessment of medication availability be incorporated into the care of children with chronic conditions, and that there be interventions to improve medication management.

Authors on this paper are Kristin Riekert, Elizabeth Ruvalcaba, Cynthia Rand and Michelle Eakin of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Jennifer Callaghan-Koru of the University of Maryland.

Funding for this study was provided by the National Institutes of Health (R18HL107223).