A written action plan for asthma treatment, attached to the drug prescription, improves asthma control in children, says a new research.
"Acute care visits for asthma often signal a management failure," said Dr. Francine Ducharme, of the University of Montreal's Department of Pediatrics and the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre. "This research shows that, even in the emergency department setting where little time is available to provide education, the provision of a written action plan significantly improved patient adherence to prescribed inhaled and oral drugs and to physicians' recommendations. Ensuring patients adhere to their drug regimes is a major challenge for doctors. 65% of children do not use a controlling drug effectively and statistics show that the situation usually does not improve after an emergency room visit for an asthma attack.
The writing of action plan offers an additional advantage - it helps emergency physicians prescribe appropriately, in accordance to national asthma guidelines. "Considering its considerable benefit at low cost, I recommend the provision of the action plan at time of discharge after an emergency visit or hospital admission and after each preventive visit, for asthma," Ducharme said. Written action plans are available from the Government of Quebec's Institut national d'excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS).