Promoting Compliance with Inhaler Use in Asthma Patients
Introduction: Asthma is a chronic airways disease characterised by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing, which vary in severity and frequency from person to person. Symptoms may occur several times a day or week in affected individuals, and for some people symptoms become worse during physical activity or at night. Intermittent relapse from periods o f stable asthma is the usual clinical course for most adults.
Incorrect inhaler usage is a significant problem in asthma management, resulting in poor control o f asthma symptoms. The ability o f patients to correctly use their inhaler might be directly linked to inhaler technique education. Education may result in better inhalation technique, improved compliance and asthma control. The economic burden o f asthma is very substantial and is one of the highest among chronic diseases.
Research question: “What is the impact of a nurse-led education programme in promoting compliance with inhaler use in patients with Asthma?”
Methodology: This is a quantitative study engaging a quasi-experimental pre-test and post-test design, but with a follow-up period added. A cohort o f 21 patients who met the inclusion criteria were recruited from the Out-Patient Department over a period o f six months. During each visit, participants were asked to demonstrate how they took their inhaler. Any errors in technique were identified and rectified. Their demonstration was measured through observation and with the use of an Inhaler Proficiency Schedule (IPS). The participants were also asked a series of specific questions in relation to their condition, confidence level with selfadministration o f their inhaler, and adherence to prescribed frequency o f use.
Results: The findings in this study show that inhaler education improves technique, promotes compliance and increases participant confidence levels in taking an inhaler, and as a result asthma symptoms improve. It also emerged that participants believed they were taking their inhaler correctly and so assumed that education drives were not targeted at them.
Implications: There were implications of the findings on the role and function of nurses, patients, pharmacists and the Health Service.