A new research study published in BMC Family Practice aimed to investigate why personal asthma action plan implementation has been poor.

The study involved 29 participants: 11 asthma patients from five different general practices and 18 healthcare professionals (10 practice nurses, seven general practitioners, one hospital respiratory nurse). All participants were interviewed and the researchers summarized the results in three major conclusions: patients undervalue and underuse PAAPs, healthcare professionals undervalue and under-prescribe PAAPs, and several barriers were identified that reduced the value of PAAPs in primary health care.

Researchers concluded that patients do not realize the value of PAAPs. Six of the interview patients had been prescribed PAAPs, but none of them reported that they were indeed using them. This was justified by several reasons, including patient dissatisfaction with the plan’s development and the plan’s poor relation to asthma symptoms or current treatment, and only one patient reported that the plan had been reviewed by qualified staff. Overall, patients did not see the personal need for PAAPs, but agreed that they could be useful for at-risk people, such as children or recently diagnosed patients.

From the healthcare professional perspective, the interviews revealed that there was no unanimous support of PAAPs. Fifteen health professionals had prescribed PAAPs at least once, with eight reporting have done revisions to the plans, although not consistently for every patient. This was justified by the lack of interest presented by patients in using or even discussing their PAAPs in asthma consultations.

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