Managing respiratory emergencies at school: A county-wide stock inhaler program

Ashley A. Lowe, Joe K. Gerald, Conrad J. Clemens, Debra A. Stern, Lynn B. Gerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: A total of 15 states allow schools to manage respiratory emergencies among multiple students by using a single albuterol inhaler (stock inhaler) paired with a disposable holding chamber. Objective: Our aim was to evaluate implementation barriers and facilitators, as well as satisfaction with a stock inhaler program across K through12 schools in Pima County, Arizona. Methods: All public, charter, private, and parochial schools were offered supplies, web-based training, and technical assistance at no cost. The RE-AIM (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance) framework was used to evaluate program implementation. School documentation logs were reviewed, school health personnel were surveyed, and a convenience sample of health personnel were interviewed. Chi-square tests evaluated categoric outcomes and Poisson hurdle regression examined stock inhaler use by school organization type, grade levels served, and type of school health personnel employed. Results: In all, 229 schools (68%) participated, reaching 82% of students in the county. A total of 152 schools (66%) used a stock inhaler, accounting for 1038 events. The mean number of puffs administered was 2.7 (SD = 1.2) per event, and most events (79%) involved students with asthma. Although most events (83.9%) resulted in the student returning to class, 15.6% resulted in students being sent home. Only 6 events resulted in 911 calls, and 5 of these led to an ambulance transport. School health personnel reported high levels of satisfaction, and all schools renewed participation for a second year. Program costs were $156 per school. Conclusion: With technical assistance, stock inhaler programs can be feasibly implemented by schools in a wide range of settings, thereby increasing their capacity to safely manage respiratory emergencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)420-427.e5
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Health policy
  • albuterol
  • asthma
  • school nursing
  • schools

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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