Regular Article| Volume 95, ISSUE 11, P851-856, November 2001

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The role of the asthma nurse in treatment compliance and self-management following hospital admission

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      Effective self-management and treatment compliance is important in achieving good symptom control in asthma. The aim of this study was to determine whether asthma nurse intervention during hospital admission could increase knowledge and improve self-management and whether this would influence the number of emergency call-out visits by General Practitioners (GPs) and hospital re-admissions. Patients with acute asthma (n=80) were assessed by the asthma nurse within 24 h of admission using a British Thoracic Society (BTS) guideline-based questionnaire. Main outcome measures were: knowledge of inhalers, self-management plans, peak flow monitoring, recognition of worsening symptoms and appropriate emergency action. Following randomization, half received nurse intervention during hospitalization. All received a follow-up questionnaire 6 weeks post-discharge and again at 6 months (response rates 86% and 81% respectively). GPs were contacted by postal questionnaire after 4 months. Questionnaire responses indicated an increase in knowledge in the intervention group, along with an ability to identify appropriate action on worsening symptoms. Emergency GP call-outs were more frequent in the control group in the 4 months post-discharge. Hospital re-admission rates were similar in both groups. Asthma nurse intervention appeared to increase knowledge of asthma management, maintained throughout the study period, but had no significant impact on reducing re-admissions to hospital.




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