Psychosocial Barriers to Asthma Education: Societal Perspective
In recent years, the important role that asthma education can play in improving the management of asthma has been recognized. This article will focus on patient education but will briefly consider physician education as it pertains to improving asthma care. Although the exact content and mode of delivery have not been defined (eg, need for peak flowmeter, one-on-one vs group education), enough data have now been published to suggest that such programs can reduce asthma morbidity in a broad spectrum of patients. However, there are often significant psychosocial barriers that jeopardize the clinical usefulness of programs proved to be of benefit in a research setting. The potential barriers that may arise are best evaluated in terms of the likely participants in this process, including patient and family, physician and asthma educator, and finally society, in general.
Although the tremendous economic burden related to asthma morbidity and mortality has recently been quantified, especially for the management of acute asthma, successful implementation of asthma education programs that have been shown to be cost-effective may be difficult. In Canada, many provincial health care programs have recognized the excessive costs of acute crisis-oriented care, and have been keen to shift care toward the community setting. Ventolin inhaler read more Although hospital-based resources have been reduced, the expected transfer of saved resources to the community has not been evident. Thus, in an era of fiscal restraint, funding of new programs may not be easy despite the compelling evidence to support their introduction. A problem similar to this may again occur at an institutional level where the initiation of a new program may be difficult. To overcome these barriers, funding agencies will need to be educated about the economic benefits of asthma education.
Patient and Family
There are a number of factors associated with the patient and family that may impede the education process, such as the following: (1) economic status; (2) psychosocial factors; (3) literacy level; (4) ethnicity, ie, culture, language, diet; and (5) occupational asthma. These factors will be discussed in more detail.