Winchester Hospital's CHAMP

05/06/13

Winchester Hospital’s CHAMP Celebrates 10-Years of Success

Joan Sullivan has yet to enter high school, but the Lexington resident already has her career planned out. She wants to become a veterinarian.

During April vacation she attended a camp – Adventures in Veterinary Medicine at Tufts Veterinary School – where she worked with dogs, cats, horses, sheep and cows.

“I started thinking about being a vet when I was four or five,” Joan said. “As I got older, I’ve grown to love animal science and anatomy and my desire to be a vet has grown over the years.”

That dream was nearly derailed five years ago.

When Joan, now finishing up seventh grade, was eight-years-old, she suffered an asthma attack that ended up sending her to the hospital.

“We knew she had asthma,” said Vickie Sullivan, Joan’s mother. “But the hospitalization caught us by surprise. We were at her cousin’s house for Easter and they had kittens. We thought she caught a cold, then the next thing you know, we’re at Winchester Hospital.”

It was at the hospital that Vickie Sullivan was referred to Winchester Hospital’s Community and Hospital Asthma Management Program (CHAMP). This free program provides a team approach to treating children with asthma.

“One goal of the program is to keep kids out of hospital,” said June Mayo, RN and certified asthma educator. “We want to help kids better manage asthma, recognize their symptoms, and reduce Emergency Room visits and hospitalizations.”

According to Anne Russell, RN and certified asthma educator, CHAMP teaches children and their families how to control exposure to the factors that trigger asthma episodes, effectively manage their asthma with medicine, monitor their disease, educate them, and create collaboration between patients, families, health care professionals and the public through education.

When a child joins the program, they receive home visits by a certified asthma educator, an individualized asthma action plan, an evaluation of and education about correct use of inhalers, spacers, peak flow meters and nebulizers, provide the child and family with a peak flow asthma diary/asthma signs diary, and involve school personnel and other care providers with the child’s asthma action plan and peak flow information. 

Each May, thousands of organizations across the country acknowledge Asthma Awareness Month in an effort to increase public awareness and improve the lives of those with asthma. 

As for Joan, after five years in the program, she graduated from CHAMP and since that one Easter night, five years ago, has never been back to an Emergency Room.

“I am now able to handle my asthma on my own,” Joan said. “I have become more responsible with it.”

For more information about CHAMP, please contact The Center for Healthy Living at Winchester Hospital at 781-756-4700.

About Winchester Hospital

Winchester Hospital is the first hospital in Massachusetts to earn Magnet recognition, the American Nurses Association’s highest honor for nursing excellence, three times. As the northwest suburban Boston area’s leading provider of comprehensive health care services, the 229-bed facility provides care in general, bariatric and vascular surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, cardiology, pulmonary medicine, oncology, gastroenterology, rehabilitation, radiation oncology, pain management, obstetrics/gynecology and a Level IIB Special Care Nursery. Winchester Hospital has clinical affiliations with several nationally recognized hospitals in the region, including Boston Children’s Hospital, Tufts Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. To learn more, visit www.winchesterhospital.org.