European Respiratory Society

Enhancing care for people with asthma: the role of communication, education, training and self-management. 1998 World Asthma Meeting Education and Delivery of Care Working Group

MR Partridge, SR Hill


Reduction in the morbidity associated with asthma requires attention to several aspects of the behaviour of health professionals and patients, and to the interactions between these two groups. In this review, what has been learnt about health professional/patient communication and patient education (skills, settings and materials), lay and health professional liaison (including telephone helplines), patient education in low-income countries, the integration of patient education into clinical practice, health professional training and the implementation of guidelines, and the role of national asthma campaigns is drawn together. What changes in public policy would enhance asthma care, and whether the promotion of asthma self-management skills is cost effective are also considered. It is concluded that, although further research is necessary in many areas, well-educated health professionals who recognize the person with asthma as an individual, and who give advice about self-management, can significantly reduce the suffering and costs associated with asthma.