Chronic respiratory disease

March 2010


Impact of structured education and self management on rural asthma outcomes

Volume 39, No.3, March 2010 Pages 141-144

Ann Larson

Jacqueline Ward

Leanne Ross

David Whyatt

Martin Weatherston

Louis Landau


This study trialled the outcome for asthma patients of a brief, nurse led, patient education session with general practice review of an Asthma Action Plan.


Prospective cohort with before-after measures conducted in six rural general practices. Outcome measures were changes over 12 months in self reported asthma control, quality of life, device use, and unscheduled general practice and emergency department visits for asthma exacerbation.


Eighty-three patients participated. Mean asthma control score decreased but did not reach statistical significance (p=0.124). Quality of life improved for adults (Wilcoxon rank signed test for two related samples p<0.001). The proportion of patients who had one or more unscheduled visits to their general practitioner over 12 months decreased from 23% to 13% (p=0.178) and emergency department presentations decreased from 9% to 4% (p=0.102).


Structured general practice based education appears to be an effective preventive health care program, with the potential to reduce expensive unscheduled use of health services.

Asthma is an important health priority affecting around 11% of the population.1 The majority of patients with asthma seen in general practice are reported to have uncontrolled symptoms2 and poor knowledge and skills in their asthma management, medication use and device technique.3

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