Asthma nurse specialist Michelle Fawdon provides an update on the requirements for a comprehensive asthma review and offers tips on how to ensure patients get the most of out of their regular check-ups.
Asthma affects over 5.4 million people in the UK. On average over 750,000 people are admitted to hospital per year with asthma. The total average cost of caring for asthma in terms of GP and nursing resources in the UK health service is a staggering £1.1billion per year, with at least £660 million being spent on asthma prescriptions alone.1 In order to effectively manage asthma, particularly in the community, regular face-to-face check-ups should be offered to all patients with asthma, on at least an annual basis. This allows health professionals to monitor symptoms, adjust medications, highlight concerns and provide further education for the patient.
Following the Covid pandemic disruption, re-establishing comprehensive annual reviews of patients with asthma is a priority for primary care, to make sure patients get back on track with their asthma control, and that newly diagnosed patients receive appropriate care and follow-up so they can understand and gain control of their condition.
Why are annual reviews so important?
There is no cure for asthma, but it can be controlled with appropriate treatment and monitoring. The British Thoracic Society (BTS)/Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) management of asthma guidelines highlight the importance of a review on at least an annual basis,2 and this has been endorsed by NICE and forms part of the Quality of Outcomes Framework (QOF) in England.3
One of the key reasons for doing asthma reviews yearly is to identify and manage those patients who are at risk of an asthma attack. Indeed, the National Review into Asthma Deaths (NRAD) in 2014 showed that over 40% of patients who died from an asthma attack had not had a review in the year prior to their death.4 The report’s recommendations helped drive further development and roll-out of the annual asthma review.
The full module will bring nurses in primary care up to date with the best evidence-based approach to conducting a comprehensive asthma review. This involves:
- Recognising the importance of asthma reviews at least annually.
- Understanding current guidance and latest policies regarding asthma reviews.
- Improving the understanding and importance of key aspects the review such as symptom assessment, monitoring of peak flow, inhaler technique and adherence to treatment.
- Appreciating the benefits of questionnaires to assess asthma control.
- Adapting to the effects of Covid on the availability of face-to-face asthma reviews.
Michelle Fawdon is asthma nurse specialist lead for the acute and severe asthma service at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.
Finding this module
The full CPD module can be found on the Nursing in Practice 365 website.
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