Juanita Rembert’s family history with asthma sounds like a dramatic screenplay. Five generations of the Rembert family have experienced the difficulties of living with asthma. With each successive generation, the asthma symptoms have gotten worse. Juanita’s granddaughter died suddenly at age 20 from asthma, and her 4-year-old great-grandchild lives today only because of daily use of breathing machines and inhalers.
One would think such a family would be a priority for asthma care. But the Remberts are on Medicaid, and the asthma care, prevention advice, and family education recommended by the federally funded National Asthma Education & Prevention Program (NAEPP) Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma – updated over two years ago –are not always accessible to those at greatest risk of death: African American, Hispanic and low-income patients, children and disabled adults.
As a result, the Remberts have no choice other than to do their best to cope with the symptoms of chronic asthma. The irony is that NAEPP guidelines would help the Remberts not only to live in control of their asthma, but would save money as well by reducing acute care needs.
Juanita Rembert is sharing her family’s story as part of Asthma Awareness Day Capitol Hill this week. Sponsored by Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA), this annual event calls attention to the need for NAEPP-level care for all people with asthma.