Pharmacists Are Valuable Resources for Families Dealing with Chronic Conditions

10.19.17

Did you know the number of children with chronic conditions, particularly asthma and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, has increased in recent years and continues to rise?1 In fact, one in 10 children between the ages of five and 17 has been diagnosed with ADHD2 and nearly one in 10 children has asthma.3

In addition, more than 200,000 people under the age of 20 have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes,4 which requires careful management and monitoring every day to ensure blood glucose is kept at a healthy level. And mental illness affects roughly one in five children in the U.S.,5 and often requires medication to help manage symptoms.

Children with chronic conditions face unique hurdles that can make school a challenging experience, but pharmacists can be a valuable resource to help families prepare their children for successful management of their conditions while in the classroom.

Being Prepared with an Action Plan Can Help Avoid Negative Outcomes

For any child, but particularly children with chronic conditions, illness can diminish the ability to focus in class and may lead to absenteeism, which places them at risk of falling behind in course work. This has clear long-term educational consequences, which are increased for children who miss 15 or more days per year, known as “chronic absenteeism.”6 Of course, absences also impact parents, who may have to miss work to be with their children, leading to reduced productivity in the workplace.

But having an action plan for managing a child’s condition – one that they can understand and be in charge of while at school – helps to lessen the risk of negative impacts on both health and education. An action plan may include knowing how to track symptoms, recognizing when they are getting worse and knowing what steps or medications to take in an emergency.

Pharmacists and Nurse Practitioners Provide Accessible Support throughout the Year

As one of the most accessible health care professionals, pharmacists can be a valuable local resource for information, advice and strategies to help families create the medication and care plans needed to stay ahead of their child’s illness, including:

  • Working with parents to develop a proactive medication management plan.
  • Advising parents on how to have conversations with teachers and school administrators about their child’s condition and medication management plan.
  • Offering suggestions for how to reduce medication-related costs, such as using lower cost generic options or participating in programs that can reduce copays.

MinuteClinic’s more than 1,100 locations also provide convenient access to care in many communities, offering sports physicals and immunization services to help keep kids on their path to better health.

In addition to our in-store health care resources, we have entered into a public/private partnership to develop SMART™, a model for school health services. The model works to ensure that kids in public schools have access to a wide range of health care services to improve health and academic outcomes.

For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve pharmacy care, visit our Health Care Delivery & Innovation information center. And to stay informed about the most talked-about topics in health care, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.

1 Science Daily. “Percentage of US children who have chronic health conditions on the rise.” Accessed September 2017. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160430100357.htm

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)*” Accessed September 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/adhd.htm

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Asthma.” Accessed September 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/asthma.htm

4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Diabetes in Schools.” Accessed September 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/npao/diabetes.htm

5 National Alliance on Mental Illness. “Mental Health Facts: Children & Teens.” Accessed September 2017. https://www.nami.org/NAMI/media/NAMI-Media/Infographics/Children-MH-Facts-NAMI.pdf

6 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “The Relationship Between School Attendance and Health.” Accessed September 2017. http://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2016/09/the-relationship-between-school-attendance-and-health.html