Asthma is a chronic condition that can’t be cured, and it’s the third-leading cause of hospitalizations in children under the age of 15. Health care providers need to be able to provide asthma education tools and resources at the time of diagnosis so parents and children can learn how to manage this disease. With good asthma management, patients will have fewer or no symptoms and be as active as they want to be. Tools like Lungtropolis.com can help you inform your young patients and their parents.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, access to professional and patient asthma education tools; increased knowledge of asthma management strategies; regular patient monitoring; and continuing asthma education can help physicians:
- Lower the rate of asthma-related hospitalizations.
- Recognize the asthma symptoms children experience.
- Initiate the appropriate therapies.
- Provide better patient education.
- Develop asthma emergency plans for patients.
Because patient appointments are brief, the following questions can help you determine the key educational messages to provide to your patients and their parents:
- Describe for me how you know when to tell an adult about your asthma or breathing problems.
- Do you have any questions about your Asthma Action Plan? Is there a way to make the plan simpler?
- What asthma medications are you taking? How and when do you take them?
- What asthma medications have you tried in the past?
- Do your asthma medicines give you any problems?
- Do you sometimes miss or forget to take your asthma medications?
- Have you stopped taking any of your asthma medications?
- What makes you the most scared or worried about your asthma?
- Are there things you wish you could do but can’t because of your asthma?
- Show me how you use your inhaler.
- Have you noticed anything at home, school or a friend’s house that makes your asthma worse?
If the patient is young, you may need to direct some or all of these questions at a parent. In addition, you should also learn what the patient (and his or her parent) hopes to accomplish during the visit; treatment expectations; and any questions or concerns they may have. Use the answers to provide educational messages regarding:
- Basic asthma facts
- The roles of quick-relief and long-term control medications
- Correctly using an inhaler and other devices
- Asthma triggers and how to avoid them
- Asthma symptoms children experience
- Effective self-monitoring
- Creating an Asthma Action Plan
- Asthma education tools your patient can access
Often, a patient’s asthma management is only as good as the resources and tools provided by her physician. By ensuring a good partnership with your patients, you can empower them to take control, be healthy and improve their quality of life.