Asthma is one of the most common long-term conditions in the UK, affecting 5.4 million people.1 It accounts for at least 6.3 million primary care consultations,
93, 000 hospital inpatient admissions, and costs the NHS £1.1 billion.2 Perhaps most alarmingly, the UK has one of the highest death rates from asthma in the world ; 1,410 people died from asthma in 2016 (the most recent data available).1 It is also saddening to discover that Asthma UK predict that two thirds of these deaths were preventable.
Patient education needs to be improved in an attempt to prevent complications and fatalities from asthma. Patients should be supported in completing a personal asthma action plan with their healthcare professional, which outlines the medication they are taking for their asthma, what to do if they are symptomatic, and when to seek help during an asthma attack. Asthma UK1 states that patients with PAAPs are four times less likely to be admitted to hospital with asthma related complications.
Furthermore, they can provide life-saving information during an asthma attack; 45% of people found to have died from their asthma in 2016 did not seek medical assistance, or died before assistance could be provided, and only 23% of these patients were known to have been provided with a PAAP.3
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