Asthma & Health Literacy

Asthma & Health Literacy



hi I'm dr. Ricci Gupta I'm associate professor of pediatrics at Northwestern medicine and lurie Children's Hospital I'm gonna talk to you today about asthma and addressing health literacy which is a constant challenge in the United States about 9 million children have asthma and disparities are on the rise asthma rates disproportionately are higher among black versus white children also asthma rates are higher in urban areas versus rural areas now health literacy is so critical in asthma because it is so important that the medicines that we're giving the children actually are understood by the families now what is health literacy so a child comes in with asthma they get information from everywhere from the physicians from the internet from their friends and then they have to assess all that information hopefully along with their physician and make some decisions and then take action and then improve their health due to those actions now in the u.s. we find that if you are low literacy you have a higher chance of having emergency department visits hospitalizations and then even death so it's critical to address these issues now one big part of our asthma guidelines is every family should have a asthma action plan now these acts asthma action plans are usually handwritten by the provider and explain when to take their medications when they're healthy when they're starting to feel sick and when they're feeling really sick so usually it goes green yellow orange now we took these plans and we tried to simplify them we tried to make them low literacy add pictures and add more details about their medications what we found is that most plans in the United States are written at above a sixth grade reading level now low literacy plans have more focus on pictures and photographs so how did we make this so if you're in the Green Zone a couple big points that are de-stress with your patients include their medications which we already do but instead of saying two times a day say two time I would say once in the morning and once at night also if you are saying once in the morning once in the night say it with a spacer or a mask if that's needed this reminds the family what they exactly need to do so take two puffs in the morning with the spacer take two puffs at night with a spacer it's also important to add any other medications they need to be taken the same way now if they get in the yellow zone which is starting to feel a little bit bad or sick as we would say this point you want to add what they should do so take their rescue medication and then again take two puffs of their albuterol for example with the spacer and repeat that every four hours now it is also important to remind them that they should continue to take their daily meds finally if they feel very sick if they're having a lot of trouble breathing and they're in the red zone it's important to describe what that means so use concrete symptoms like rib shows when breathing it's easier for them to understand that than just having a lot of trouble breathing now at this point add in take two puffs of albuterol with spacer again as we did in the yellow zone and call a doctor or 911 Hospital the other area that we find children have a lot of trouble with is exactly how to use their inhalers and their spacers so this is a very important area to emphasize all the steps that I need and we often encourage physicians to video their patients doing it with their the patient's camera with their own phone camera and watch themselves when they need to to remind themselves of the eight steps that they should be following to properly use their inhaler if we can help families understand how to use their inhaler properly and when to use their medications we can significantly improve their health and reduce negative outcomes thank you

One comment

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *