The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2006 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

EVALUATION OF AN ASTHMA EDUCATION AND TREATMENT PROGRAM IN A CLINIC FOR THE UNINSURED

Timothy B. Op't Holt, Ed.D. R.R.T. AE-C, FAARC, William Pruitt, M.B.A, R.R.T. C.P.F.T. AE-C, and Robert D Lightfoot MD.

University of South Alabama, Department of Cardiorespiratory Care and Victory Health Partners, Mobile, Alabama

Background: Among the outcomes of participation in asthma education are a decrease in symptoms, hospital and physician visits, and appropriate use of medications. An asthma education program has been established at the Victory Health Partners clinic in Mobile Alabama, for the care of those who are uninsured. We chose to undertake this evaluation project to: 1) determine the effectiveness of the program during the period July 30, 2003 through January 31, 2005 and 2) assist us with making changes in the program to better serve our patients.

Methods:
We used patient visit sheets and pulmonary function test (PFT) forms to determine the number of patients with asthma we had treated. After obtaining permission from the Institutional Research Board, we used these documents and responses to a mail survey to answer the research questions. The Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to determine differences in the pre-and since visit responses (p< 0.05 was considered significant).

Results:
Twenty adult patients participated in the study out of a possible 41 patients. There was a significant decrease in symptoms and a significant increase in peak flow/pulmonary function, and medication use and affordability as a result of the program. Patients who indicated poor control of their symptoms were notified to make a follow-up appointment. Twenty-one patients were lost to follow-up.

Conclusions:
We concluded that our program is effective. There was a decrease in patient's asthma symptoms, need for emergency department visits, and number of work or school days lost to asthma, an increase in the ability to use asthma medications without side-effects and the ability to afford the appropriate medications. Patients thought the program had taught them to control their asthma and that their breathing was better. Symptom scoring revealed that most patients are in control of their asthma. We have also learned that we need to be more careful to document asthma education, to assure distribution of an asthma action plan, and to get the most out of each visit, because so many patients are lost to follow-up.

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