How to Improve Teaching About Asthma: Educating the Educators

How to Improve Teaching About Asthma: Educating the EducatorsIn an effort to improve the teaching skills of specialized asthma educators and to make asthma education programs more widely available, we designed a teaching program aimed at improving the skills of nurses, inhalation therapists, family physicians, and other health educators frequently involved in the care of asthmatics. The program was begun in 1991 in the Quebec City metropolitan area. Owing to its popularity, the program is now being extended to other cities. The program is regularly updated, based on comments by participants and current research work. The participants’ knowledge about asthma before and after participation in the program was assessed after each session.
The teaching program consists of an 8-h session divided up as follows (Table 1): a half day of lectures and discussions on the main issues of asthma and its treatment. Another half day is spent in small groups of about ten participants discussing practical aspects of asthma education. Canadian family pharmacy Reading here The teaching sessions are provided by four specialized health educators (three nurses and one respiratory therapist), and eight adult and two pediatric pulmonologists. A book, which includes most of the important issues on asthma management, is given to each participant at the end of the session
The theoretical part of the course covers the following issues: physiopathogenesis of asthma; asthma triggers and environmental control; goals of treatment; monitoring of asthma (spirometry, peak flowmeters, inhalation tests); the role of medication, how it should be taken, and side effects; criteria of asthma control and loss of control; management of flare-ups; and determination of plans of action. Particular aspects of treating asthma in children and other subgroups of patients (the elderly, adolescents, etc) are discussed, as well as how to set up an asthma education program.
The aim of the small group sessions is to present different clinical profiles and to discuss with the participants the most appropriate steps to take in each particular situation. A session on practical issues is aimed at enabling all the participants to become skilled at instructing their patients on how to use different types of inhalation devices (such as me-tered-dose inhalers, powder inhalers, spacing chambers), how to use a peak flowmeter, and how to use action plans.
At the end of the session, participants should be able to teach patients about the nature and mechanisms of asthma, to instruct them in using their inhalation device properly, to identify and avoid triggers with the exception of exercise, to recognize the early signs of an asthma attack, and finally, to assess its severity. Much emphasis is put on how to use an action plan for early intervention and selfmanagement of flare-ups.

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