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Free Homes Inspections Service Offered to Multnomah County Residents

May 7th, 2010

Free homes inspections services to families with asthmatic children in Multnomah County, Oregon have been launched as part of the county-wide asthma education program aimed at low income families.

The service involves having a county inspector visit the home of a family with an asthmatic child to check for mites and mold that can make breathing difficult for someone who has asthma. Inspectors conduct the home examination after a doctor’s referral.

Local health experts stated that this service can help mitigate asthma attacks among children since it could help identify contributing factors present in the child’s immediate environment. Inspectors usually take an hour to conduct the complete house examination.

According to local statistics, around ten percent of children in the county, plus an estimated seven percent of adults, suffer from asthma. Statistics also showed that asthma attacks have been responsible for the hospitalization of hundreds of residents every year.

Hospitalization costs related to asthma have reached an average of $7 million in the past three years, officials have said. So far, county inspectors have conducted 35 homes inspections since the program’s inception in November 2008.

Environmental health experts in the county have explained that the inspection can identify structural problems that contribute to the occurrence of asthma attacks. They stated that leaks creating damp environments, which lead to mold growth, and cockroach problems are some of the factors that can cause asthma attacks.

The program, local officials have explained, will be getting its funds from the county budget until 2011 and will be sustained by a grant for two more years beyond after this period. Officials also revealed that it was patterned after Boston’s Breathe Easy at Home program which was launched in 2007 and had resulted in over 450 homes in Boston getting inspected.

The efficacy of the Boston program is still being evaluated, Multnomah officials stated; but a survey has revealed that out of 12 families surveyed, eight have confirmed that there had been improvements in their children’s symptoms following inspection.

The homes inspections aimed to control asthmatic attacks among children of low-income families in Multnomah are part of a bigger effort called Healthy Homes Programs. According to local environmental health officials, the effort has resulted in lowering emergency room visits from families with asthmatic children.

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