Healthy Indoors Magazine

HI March 2019

Healthy Indoors Magazine

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Healthy Indoors | 19 • Energy conservation education, and • Discussion of environmental triggers and air quality in the home. On completion of the pre-audit, potential Wx+H clients received referrals to the Health Department. A CHW then provided 1-3 home visits focused on: • Asthma or respiratory health management • Comprehensive assessment of other needs, and • Development of an asthma action plan. During the grant period, Health Department and PCHS out- reach and auditing staff met weekly to share information and coordinate services. Wx+H work on the homes was scheduled between 1 and 14 months after the initial CHW visit. The Healthy Home Assessment PCHH Wx+H auditors are certified BPI Healthy Homes Evaluators (HHE) who conduct initial audits which include the use of Air Advice monitors that measure relative humid- ity, temperature, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, particu- late matter, and volatile organic compounds. HHEs provide healthy homes education, based on their observations and Air Advice results. This education includes ventilation, mois- ture management, household cleaning, and other healthy homes measures. Jennifer Bayeur is a Pierce County HHE who conducts a pre-audit for weatherization applicants. Bayeur began her career in the energy-efficiency world in 2012 and earned her BPI Building Analyst certification in 2015. By 2016 she had the experience and pre-requisites needed to success- fully obtain the BPI Quality Control Inspector certification. In June of 2018 she added BPI's Healthy Home Evaluator certification to her resume. Working with the resident, Bayeur identifies energy sav- ing opportunities and schedules a full energy audit for a fu- ture date. At the same time, she completes the Pollution Source Survey and asks if anyone in the home has asthma, COPD, or other respiratory issues. Bayeur uses this opportunity to provide one-on-one healthy homes education to the resident. "The Healthy Homes Evalu- ator training really solidified what I do and allowed me to see how the home and the occupant behaviors affect each oth- er. You have to look not just at the house as a system, but also how the person lives in it." Bayeur explains the BPI HHE certification prepared her to deliver not just energy savings to her clients, but also a better quality of life. She learned how to solicit household information from clients in a non-threatening way, without negative judgement. "I ask people: 'Tell me about your house. What would you change if you could?'" HHEs determine if the household could benefit from ad- ditional "plus health" interventions. This may include struc- tural changes such as carpet removal and plumbing repairs, or household items like HEPA vacuums, allergen bedding covers, and green cleaning kits. Weatherization staff also work with other energy reduction programs to assist clients in comprehensive weatherization (air sealing and insula- tion), ductless heat pumps, minor and major repairs, and the removal of woodstoves. CHW and HHE Ongoing Collaboration When HHEs identify a household member with asthma or COPD, they make a referral to the Health Department's Community Health Workers (CHW). Sometimes a CHW is the client's first contact with the program after receiving a referral from the healthcare system. While the client works with the HHE and contractors to make weatherization and health improvements to the home, a CHW meets separate- ly with the family to talk about managing their respiratory disease. CHWs are trusted members of the community, trained to provide health education and to support resi- dents in making behavior change. They coordinate with the healthcare provider to review respiratory medications, make sure provider instructions are clear, and ensure each client has an asthma action plan. Elodia Andres-Cornelio has four children with asthma and has worked as an Asthma CHW for three years. CHWs spend an average of 90 minutes at each visit talking with families to understand their needs. Andres-Cornelio tells a story of one Wx+H client who struggled with her 10-year old "The Pierce County Healthy Homes Partnership serves as a national model for coupling the asthma action plan with an environmental action plan to produce positive health and quality of life outcomes for patients with asthma or other respiratory conditions," said Tonya Winders, President and CEO of the Allergy & Asthma Network and a founding member of the Healthy Hous- ing Working Group. "The Working Group's mission is to ensure that everyone with allergies or asthma has an Environmental Action Plan," she said.

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