Due to the pandemic, children have returned to school with higher acuity of chronic conditions and greater need for support in school.
To ensure effective management of these conditions and to support all children’s health and well-being in school, the AAP has joined other organizations in signing on to Consensus Statement on the Core Tenets of Chronic Condition Management in Schools, https://bit.ly/3D8zP1b.
Effective chronic condition management is crucial for reducing barriers to academic achievement, especially for students impacted by health disparities and other inequities impacting their educational outcomes. According to the consensus statement, poorly controlled chronic conditions impact a range of educationally relevant factors.
About 25% of children have a chronic condition such as asthma, diabetes, dental disease, epilepsy, food allergy or mental health disorder (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/185391).
The statement outlines seven core tenets and three foundational supports for school stakeholders to establish a common framework and guide an integrated, collective and equitable approach to chronic condition management in schools.
The core tenets are drawn from models already in use (e.g., the medical home, chronic care and whole child models) to support effective, high-quality care for children with chronic conditions that is “accessible, comprehensive, coordinated, culturally effective, equitable, evidence-based, and child- and family-centered,” according to the consensus statement.
The foundational supports that provide infrastructure to operationalize the core tenets are supportive leadership and organizational culture, information and communication systems, and sustainable and equitable funding.
The authors acknowledged that schools cannot manage chronic conditions on their own. Multiple sectors and an integrated, intentional and interdisciplinary approach are necessary.
School stakeholders who should be involved in addressing the tenets and supports include those working directly with children in schools (e.g., school nurses, mental health providers, teachers and volunteers) and community partners (e.g., health care professionals, hospitals/health systems, public health agencies, social service organizations and insurers).
Pediatricians and other health care professionals and mental health providers inside and outside the school can offer insight into evidence-based strategies and supports for managing chronic conditions in schools and provide medical and dental care, according to the statement.
“Effectively managing these conditions is critically important in order for these children to lead healthy, thriving, productive lives — both now and in adulthood,” the authors wrote.