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Better inhaler technique could help curb asthma emergency admissions

But healthcare professionals need to improve their own technique first

Caroline White

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Better inhaler technique could help curb the annual 80,000 plus emergency admissions for asthma, says a pharmaceutical-educational charity partnership. But healthcare professionals are not much better than patients, and need to improve their inhaler training technique.

The evidence shows that many asthma patients do not use their inhalers correctly, with up to half failing to use the correct technique. And a study of healthcare professionals published in Thorax indicated that up to 70% were unable to demonstrate the correct metered dose inhaler technique to their patients.

Poor technique can mean that as little as 5% of the drug reaches the lungs, which can curb symptom control and reduce treatment compliance and boost the risk of emergency admissions. Asthma UK estimates that up to 75% of emergency admissions could be prevented through good asthma management and routine care.

Napp Pharmaceuticals have teamed up with charity Education for Health to offer inhaler technique training to CCGs and NHS providers who want to improve their respiratory services and potentially reduce their asthma emergency admissions.

Pilot programmes will be launched with community pharmacists in December 2013 with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG and Pharmicus in Gateshead.

A similar inhaler technique programme on the Isle of Wight, which trained multidisciplinary teams including GPs and respiratory nurses, prompted a 50% fall in asthma emergency admissions and a 75% drop in associated deaths.

Monica Fletcher, CEO of Education for Health said: “This training will enable healthcare professionals to provide the most accurate and up to date inhaler technique to their patients. There is no reason why, with the correct treatment and management, that the majority of people with asthma shouldn’t be able to live symptom free.”

Dr Joe diCapite, inhaler technique project manager at Napp said “We know that several CCGs recognise inhaler technique as an issue for their patients. Napp and Education for Health want to work in partnership with CCGs to create inhaler technique programmes that address the specific training needs of their healthcare professionals, with a shared aim of delivering better patient outcomes.”

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