Missouri to fund some home assessments for kids with asthma

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KANSAS CITY, Mo -- Sometimes, the biggest dangers to your child are right in the home. The state of Missouri will soon provide funds to see that dangers for some kids with asthma are found there so they can be eliminated.

"How long ago was the last time there was a water leak?" Anita Didonna asked Laraina Jordan.

The Healthy Home team from Children's Mercy Hospital has come to Jordan's home looking for villains like dust, pests and mold. They're things that could worsen asthma in Jordan's 6-year-old daughter, Ameena.

"A big concern because asthma, of course, we know can kill children," said Jordan.

The team finds the century-old house holds a lot of moisture, especially in the basement.

"We're gonna help you alleviate that," said Didonna to Jordan as she pointed at water on the floor.

It's moisture that creates mold. Signs of what the team calls chronic moisture are in the bathroom, too. The team also spots air freshener, another possible trigger.

"I think it's made a lot of difference if a family is receptive to making changes to not use incense, not use air freshener," said Didonna, a community health specialist.

The teams says when families follow their suggestions, kids can have fewer asthma attacks and fewer costly emergency room visits and hospital stays. Now, with that hope, Missouri lawmakers have included $400,000 in this year's budget to fund visits like this to homes of kids in the state's Medicaid program.

"Hopefully, it would mean that we can expand our program and do more assessments and provide more education," said Didonna.

The hospital currently provides the assessments as they can at no charge. It also does testing to see if molds in the home are types that can trigger asthma.

Jordan is grateful.

"A blessing because it's pointing me in the right direction. That way, I can get control of it," said Jordan.

Some of the fixes the team recommends are low or no cost. For those that are costly, they try to point low-income families toward funding sources although they say those are limited now.

For more on the program, go to https://www.childrensmercy.org/Patients_and_Families/Support_and_Services/Environmental_Health/Healthy_Home_Program/

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