The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

1998 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

Educating Patients in Light of the New NAEPP Guidelines

Thomas Kallstrom, R.R.T.

Asthma is a disease which has captured much attention over the last decade. The incidence of asthma is rising and today affects 14 million to 15 million people in the United States. It is the most common disease of childhood, affecting 4.8 million children.

The Expert Panel Report II: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma was written in an effort to educate healthcare professionals and patients on the proper management of this disease. The Guidelines are divided into four components: (1) Measures and Assessment, (2) Control of factors contributing to asthma severity, (3) Pharmacologic Therapy, and (4) Education for a Partnership in asthma care. It is through the guidelines that the gap between current knowledge and practice may be bridged. Each component of the guidelines provides recommendations that the clinician can use to make the appropriate decisions of care.

Education of patients should result in an active partnership of the patient and clinician. Education should start at the time of diagnosis and continue at each intervention. Asthma education should be developed in accordance to the needs of the patient and should be agreed upon by the patient and the clinician.

Special attention should be directed at the education of our patients. The education that a Respiratory Therapist provides must include self-management techniques. These include patient diaries, evaluation of outcomes in terms of patient perception of improvement, and quality of life. Respiratory Therapists must be equipped to teach these skills systematically and frequently.

Respiratory Therapists now have an opportunity to play a vital role in the care and education of asthma patients of all ages. These opportunities are usually through disease management programs. These programs can be found in acute care facilities, home care, physicians offices, emergency rooms, or community based.

The 44th International Respiratory Congress Abstracts-On-DiskĀ®, November 7 - 10, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia.

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