With research indicating 90% of people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are using their inhalers incorrectly – and patients’ own assessments are not reliable guides for their ability to use them – the National Asthma Council Australia has released new and updated resources designed to help primary care professionals address the problem.
‘It’s really hard for health professionals to keep track of all the inhalers, especially as new medicines and devices continue to become available,’ Judi Wicking, National Asthma Council Australia asthma and respiratory educator, said. ‘And many health professionals don’t realise how common poor technique is, nor how big an impact this can have on asthma and COPD management.
‘[But] the good news is that correcting patients’ inhaler technique has been shown to improve lung function, quality of life and asthma control.’
The National Asthma Council Australia has released an updated version of its Inhaler technique for people with asthma or COPD information paper, which is designed to provide clear practice recommendations and incorporate new medicines and devices that have recently become available.
According to the National Asthma Council Australia, the updated paper summarises the latest evidence on the prevalence and impact of incorrect technique, and includes checklists for using new respiratory devices.
‘The paper reflects the advice in the Australian Asthma Handbook, which recommends that inhaler technique should always be checked before considering dose escalation or add-on therapy,’ Ms Wicking said.
In addition, the National Asthma Council Australia ‘Asthma and COPD Medications’ and ‘Allergic Rhinitis Treatments’ charts have been updated to include the latest inhalers and the main intranasal treatment options available. Demonstration videos for new devices have also been added.
‘It’s important that health professionals ask their patients to show them how they use their
inhalers and then provide one-on-one training to ensure that proper technique is used,’ Ms Wicking said.
Visit www.nationalasthma.org.au for more information.