Mom of Five Kids With Asthma Says In-School Health Clinic Was a “Blessing”

When you’re a mom of five kids, having one less thing to think about can be life-changing. For 41-year-old mom of five Che’Keira McClain, that’s exactly the kind of relief she found from having access to the UnityPoint In-School Health Clinics.

All five of McClain’s kids have asthma and suffer from chronic bronchitis. Before her kids had access to the in-school health clinic at Manual High School in Peoria, Ill., which operate with support from the Hult Center for Healthy Living, McClain spent countless hours taking her kids to and from the doctor’s office, walk-in clinics, and the emergency room so they could get the breathing treatments they needed. The stress on the family was significant.

“It’s a big sacrifice,” says McClain. “I’m taken away from going to work. I’m taking them out of school. I’m trying to find a ride to get out there sometimes because you don’t always have transportation. Everything takes them away from being in class. It takes them away from their education time.”

The McClain family has been using the UnityPoint In-School Health Clinic for years, starting with her oldest son Leon, who graduated from Manual High School back in 2011. Her son Alijah, 17, is currently a senior at Manual, and her daughter Ty’Nasia, 15, is a freshman. The family has used the clinic not just for asthma treatments, but for physicals, immunizations, and even just for some Tylenol.

McClain says the UnityPoint In-School Health Clinic was a “blessing” because the nurse practitioners at the clinic can handle her kids’ asthma needs right there at the school. She has been able to work directly with the nurse practitioners at the clinic so they can follow the asthma plans created by her kids’ asthma specialists. Now when her kids have issues with their asthma, they go to the in-school clinic to get examined by one of the nurse practitioners, who can administer a breathing treatment if necessary.

“When it was a school nurse, they’d check the kids out and then send them to the [school] office to get their inhalers,” says McClain. “But I almost always had to come pick them up to go get a breathing treatment. [With the in-school clinic], rather than like taking them completely out of the game, it was just out of class for a little bit and then [they’d] be able to come back [to class].”

But kids who don’t have any special health needs can benefit from the in-school health clinic, says McClain. She advises parents to utilize the clinic for regular doctor visits if they have busy schedules so they have one less thing to worry about.

“It was more of a convenience than trying to take them out of school and get them to these other doctors’ offices when you can keep up with your regular routine with your regular doctor’s office,” says McClain. “If it’s just something minor, the health clinic is there to help with that. You don’t have to hurry up and break your neck and take them out of school. They have the resources for the flu vaccines and different stuff like.”

For more information on the In-School Health Clinics or how to enroll your child contact Becca at 309-692-6650 or bmathis@hulthealthy.org