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Asthma education programme for children reduces need for emergency care

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Children with asthma who participate in an interactive education programme are significantly less likely to require emergency care than children who do not, study results suggest.

Canadian researchers studied 398 children with asthma, aged three to 16, who were admitted to a Canadian emergency department. Half the children received an asthma education booklet and usual care, while the rest participated in a four-week asthma education programme, as well as receiving usual care.

Children in the education programme received specific educational materials, personalised mailings to reinforce the programme’s key points and age-appropriate leaflets. The children and their families also attended interactive sessions in small groups to discuss the management of their asthma.

After one year, the researchers found that children in the education group were 38% less likely to require emergency care than those in the control group.

The study also found that children who participated in the education programme were 36% less likely to require oral corticosteroids than those who did not.

‘Education about asthma, especially in a small-group, interactive format, improved clinically important outcomes and overall care of children with asthma,’ the researchers said online in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. 

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