According to Vonderheide, “Asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalizations and is the leading cause of school absences. On average, in a classroom of 30 children, about three are likely to have asthma.”
The number of students seen in the four school clinics, 24,718, declined slightly during the past year. According to Vonderheide, “We give a large number of prescription medications daily, which include, but are not limited to, attention deficit disorder medications such as Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall.” Insulin is dispensed at various times throughout the day to 12 insulin-dependent diabetics. Inhalers and nebulizer treatments are also given to students with asthma and respiratory problems. Catheterizations and tube feedings are also being done.
The school-based counseling program through Community Mental Health Center, which benefitted 10 students at three schools, “was well received by staff, students and parents. Our hope is to continue this program at all four schools.”
The report noted, “Due to the current economic situation of many of our families, it is not uncommon for students to stop in the clinics before school starts, because a parent calls or even brings the child in to ask the nurse what she thinks in regards to an accident the student had the night before or the child just doesn’t feel well. We are now being asked if the child should go to the doctor or be seen by the emergency room. The parents will often tell us they just can’t afford going to the doctor.”
Five types of screenings help detect medical problems.
The Indiana State Board of Health requires regular vision and hearing screenings. Scoliosis checks are not mandatory, “but we continue to do the screening because about 10 percent of our students are being referred for further medical evaluation.”
Vision screenings are done in kindergarten and grades 1, 3, 5 and 8 and also for new students and those requested by parents, teachers and physicians by two local optometrists, Dr. John Wade and Dr. Greg Wilson, who volunteer. Referrals are sent to parents of students whose vision screening is questionable. According to Vonderheide, “We have found that some students’ vision needs are often neglected for financial reasons.” The Batesville Lions Club and other outside groups are willing to help with costs of exams and glasses when needed. Out of 800 screened students, 41 were referred and 10 needed assistance with obtaining glasses.