How to Improve Teaching About Asthma: The UK Experience


To date, more than 200 participants have attended this education program on a voluntary basis. They were invited to attend through mailings to institutions and community centers. To evaluate the program and gain insight into the needs of the participants, a validated questionnaire, including 30 questions about asthma, was administered to each participant before and after completion of the program and a written assessment report was filled in by them. Questions dealt w4h the main issues mentioned above. Overall, the knowledge of participants as measured by the percentage of correct answers to the questionnaire increased from 61% prior to attending the teaching session to 85.5% afterwards. One striking observation was made during the session; educators focused on their respective fields when teaching. For example, pharmacists emphasized medication, respiratory therapists inhalation devices, and so on. Although this is understandable, educators must not forget to provide complete training to asthmatics, including the important aspects of control of the environment, prevention and early intervention during asthma flare-ups, and psychosocial and economic aspects. A specific education program can therefore help them to complete their training by improving their knowledge and skills in other areas in which they have less experience.
So far, the program has been quite successful. Allergy medications Link It has been recognized by the Quebec Lung Association and is being extended to include the entire province of Quebec. Up to now, four “regional” committees, made up of professionals from Quebec’s main universities, should ensure that the course meets with the general guidelines suggested by the network. The guidelines are based on recent national and international guidelines on asthma treatment and on our experience with the initial courses.
In the United Kingdom, a major initiative in asthma education has been the educational programs of the Asthma Training Centre aimed primarily at nurse educators. Launched in 1987, the program began modestly offering 3-day courses to cohorts of eight nurses every few weeks. The program expanded rapidly and by November 1993, more than 4,000 practice nurses had been trained to diploma level. The focus on practice nurses circumvents the perceived difficulties of limited physician time, the use of technical language by physician, to reluctance of some patients to share openly with the physicians. However, by involving a physician “mentor” for each nonphysician participant, the program aims to produce a consistent team approach within National Health Service practice groups. The program is described in greater detail elsewhere in this supplement.