The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

1996 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

Putting the Patient in Charge: Collaborative Self-Management in Asthma

Barry J. Make, MD Wednesday, November 6, 1996

Collaborative self-management embodies the concept of patient decision- making with the assistance of the health care practitioner. Health care practitioners must assume new and expanded roles as health educators and facilitators of positive health-related behaviors on the part of our patients, and not simply roles as the prescribers of medications and treatments. Collaborative self- management recognizes that patients have the right to make their own choices regarding health care.

Asthma is a chronic relapsing and remitting disorder which requires patients to be actively involved in their own management, including not only daily use of medications to prevent and control symptoms, but also modifying medications as symptoms change to avoid the need for urgent health care. The components of collaborative self-management include 1) development of a patient-practitioner partnership which encourages communication and active patient participation, 2) development of therapeutic goals mutually shared by patient and practitioner, 3) instruction of the patient by the practitioner including skills and techniques of medication administration and use of written materials, and 4) monitoring of collaborative self-management. Disease-specific case management techniques may also be employed to optimize airflow, manage evolving symptoms, and prevent the need for urgent care. Both collaborative self-management and disease management programs are attractive to third party payors as mechanisms to reduce the costs of health care.

Respiratory care practitioners can play an important role in collaborative- self management of patients with asthma and other respiratory disorders.

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