There have been many improvements in the diagnosis,
treatment and education of patients with asthma
in the past twenty years.
They were summarized in NHLBI Guidelines for
the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma in
1991 and updated in 1997, 2002 and 2007.
physicians accept and follow the Guidelines
with respect to diagnosis and treatment.
However, few practices provide their patients
advice and instructions in a consistent fashion.
a result, parents hear different explanations
and receive contradictory instructions from
their doctors and nurses.
They may even hear six professionals each
refer to albuterol by a different name.
necessity, most asthma education is unscheduled
and takes place in one to five minute bites.
this reason, every professional who comes
into contact with parents and patients should
have the knowledge to answer basic asthma
questions and the skill to instruct patients
in the use of devices, diaries and asthma
A practice must work as an integrated system
to attain maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
All staff must agree on the essentials of asthma
treatment and education. If they don’t,
they will waste their time and that of their
patients explaining why their approach differs
from that of others. Consider trying some of
All staff should use the same words when you
talk to patients.
Use of a single term will speed teaching and
Written materials. When choosing a booklet,
diary or action plan, pick one that matches
your words and the other material that you
use. This will simplify teaching and learning
and enable parents to continue their learning
Equipment. Use as few types as possible. This
will make teaching and troubleshooting easier.
Medicines. Limit your choices to the essentials.
This will streamline instruction and reduce
errors by staff and patients.
Start with basic information and then build
Educate at every patient contact.
Encourage patients to learn by reading and
by analyzing their diaries at home.