242544 Chronic Disease Trends in Palm Beach County Schools

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 10:50 AM

Ronald Wiewora, MD, MPH , Health Care District of Palm Beach County, Palm Springs, FL
Anne Hedges, RN, MSN, NCSN , Health Care District of Palm Beach County, Palm Springs, FL
BACKGROUND: Students with chronic diseases are increasingly being educated in regular classroom settings. As some chronic diseases become more common in children, School Nurses competencies need review to assure skills are adequate to care for students with these conditions. PURPOSE: The purpose of this investigation is to review the trends in chronic diseases that are treated by School Nurses in Palm Beach County schools. SIGNIFICANCE: Recent studies have shown an increased rate of hospitalization among children with complex chronic conditions. School Nurses may be caring for these children in school settings. METHODOLOGY: The School Nurse program in Palm Beach County has an electronic medical record, Weligent®, that documents student encounters with the School Nurse. Data extracted from the record included number of visits, nursing assessment and diagnoses. FINDINGS/RESULTS: Data from four school years (2005 – 2009) was collected. The average student population over the time period was 170,000 with an average of 670,000 health room encounters each year. Students identified with chronic illnesses increased from 9.2% of the student population to 10.5% of the student population over the four years examined. Most common chronic illnesses identified were: Asthma, Allergies, ADD, Epilepsy and Psychiatric conditions. The rate of Allergies in students increased during this period. The rate of Diabetes also increased. CONCLUSIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS: The increased rate of allergies and diabetes in the student population identifies two areas for additional training for School Nurses. The increase in the rate of Diabetes may be related to increased rate of obesity in children.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
1. List the five most common chronic diseases treated by School Nurses in Palm Beach County schools. 2. Describe how information on disease trends can be used to target competency training for School Nurses.

Keywords: School Health, Chronic Diseases

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversee the School Health Program at the Health Care District.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.