Evaluation of a randomised controlled trial of adult asthma education in a hospital setting.
Abdulwadud O., Abramson M., Forbes A., James A., Walters EH.
BACKGROUND: Although patient education is a key step in the Australian Asthma Management Plan, its impact has not been assessed in a hospital outpatient asthma clinic. METHODS: A controlled trial was undertaken in 125 adults with asthma recruited from the Alfred Hospital Asthma and Allergy Clinic and randomly allocated to an intervention (n = 64) or control (n = 61) group. Subjects in the intervention group attended three education sessions, each of 90 minutes duration, spread over three successive weeks. Asthma knowledge, quality of life, self-management skills, and attitudes and beliefs about asthma were assessed by questionnaires at baseline and after six months. The intervention group was also assessed immediately after the three education sessions. The control group was evaluated after six months of usual care. RESULTS: Asthma knowledge improved significantly in the intervention group after three education sessions (p = 0.0001) and this was retained six months later (p = 0.03). The impact of asthma on quality of life decreased significantly immediately after intervention (p = 0.03) but this was not maintained six months later (p = 0.35). On the other hand, the intervention had little impact on self-management skills or attitudes and beliefs about asthma. However, the control group had also improved their knowledge, quality of life and self-management skills after six months of usual care. The difference in mean change in knowledge score at six months between the intervention and control groups was not significant (p = 0.51). CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to some other studies, a limited asthma education programme in a hospital outpatient setting had a positive impact on patients' knowledge of asthma, but not on their quality of life, self-management skills, or attitudes and beliefs about asthma.