How to Improve Teaching About Asthma: A Need for Specialized Health Educators


How to Improve Teaching About Asthma: A Need for Specialized Health EducatorsIn most of the asthma education programs that were found to be successful at enhancing health outcomes, at least 2 h of one-on-one counseling or group education was given to the asthmatic patients. In a questionnaire that was administered to 66 asthmatic patients, it was found that they had spent an average of less than 30 min talking about their disease with their physicians. Moreover, physicians often use vocabulary that patients do not understand, and asthmatic patients often feel uncomfortable when asking questions of their physicians. Asthma education might therefore be delivered optimally by specialized nonphysician health educators (nurses, inhalation therapists, and other related health personnel). Family physicians could train staff in their own offices and should be aware of the asthma education facilities available in their community. Canadian health&care mall further Based on the few studies addressing this problem, it appears that education provided by a trained health educator, after the establishment with the physician of a treatment plan, is efficient and can modify some of the behaviors of asthmatics. So, specialized health educators should collaborate closely with the physician in charge of the treatment plan to provide effective asthma education.
It has been suggested that health educators should have special training and an interest in asthma. Charlton et al reported that a nurse-run clinic reduced significantly the number of physician consultations as well as the need for oral steroids, short-term treatments, and days lost from work and school.
Health professionals’ knowledge can be improved so that they can efficiently teach asthmatics. A recent study showed that only 65% of house officers, 57% of nurses, and 92% of respiratory therapists performed at least four of the seven steps required for correct use of metered-dose inhalers. As mentioned above, several studies have shown that nurse-administered asthma education programs are able to improve some of the behavior of asthmatics. However, when a questionnaire about asthma was administered to nurses prior to attending an asthma education program, on average only 60% of the questions were answered correctly. In a recent evaluation of our training program for health educators, mean level of knowledge about asthma and its treatment was 61.5% prior to attending the education program.