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Pediatr Nurs. 2004 Nov-Dec;30(6):447-50.

Inpatient asthma clinical pathways for the pediatric patient: an integrative review of the literature.

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  • 1Yale University School of Nursing, New Haven, CT, USA.



Asthma is one of the most prevalent childhood chronic illnesses in the United States leading to nearly 190,000 pediatric hospitalizations yearly. In response to the increasing number of children with asthma being hospitalized, some institutions have developed and implemented clinical pathways and are now reporting their findings in the literature. The purpose of this paper was to conduct an integrative literature review of studies using an inpatient clinical pathway for the management of pediatric asthma.


Five research-based articles evaluating clinical pathways for the management of inpatient pediatric asthma were included in this review. The integrative review was conducted using the guidelines set forth by Ganong (1987).


The results revealed that clinical pathways appear to be effective in reducing length of stay and hospital costs associated with inpatient pediatric asthma. The pathways were not as effective in reducing readmission rates or affecting clinical outcomes for patients such as increasing asthma education, the use of controller medications, spacers, and peak flow meters.


Although the pathways are effective in reducing hospitalization costs associated with asthma, there was little reported improvement in clinical outcomes. Nurses should ensure that each pediatric asthma hospitalization provides an opportunity to promote education about asthma. This approach may lead to decreased asthma admissions and increased self and family management of pediatric asthma. Future research should focus on the clinical outcomes of patients using the inpatient pathways and also on the development of pathways to be used in outpatient settings that manage pediatric asthma.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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