AIR - Asthma Interventions & Retraining
The AIR Program was started in August 2005 to address the needs of people with frequent Emergency Department visits for asthma. There were over 1,100 patients who accounted for 3,200 patient visits in our Emergency Department for asthma from July 2004 to June 2005. We offer all patients with moderate - severe persistent asthma with 2 or more ED visits for asthma in the previous year the AIR Program. The average number of ED asthma visits for AIR participants is 4.67 in the 12 months prior to AIR. We provide 5 visits over 6 months. The first and last visit are one-on-one visits with a Respiratory Care Practitioner trained as an Asthma Educator. The middle three visits are small group sessions. The primary focus of the AIR Program is training patients with asthma in the use of an Asthma Action Plan. Other topics include the avoiding environmental airway irritants, proper inhaled medication techniques, understanding the therapeutic and side effects of their asthma medications and effective communication skill for discussing their care with their doctor.
For the first 100 patients, Emergency Department visits decreased for those who participated in the AIR Program. ED visits in the AIR Program population from enrollment to present day (6 months) was 0.31 visits. ED visits in a control population from the same asthmatic cohort (that refused the AIR Program) was 0.84 visits. Improvement in Asthma Quality of Life (AQOL) scores for patients attending AIR from baseline to last visit was statistically significant. The AQOL score for SYMPTOMS mean difference was 1.68 from baseline (p=0.0001, 95CI 0.85 to 2.5). The AQOL PSYCHOLOGIC score mean difference was 1.88 from baseline (p=0.0002, 95CI 0.89 to 2.86).