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Peak body urges health professionals to check inhaler use

Australia’s peak body for asthma has called on health professionals to check their patients’ inhaler technique.

The National Asthma Council Australia said it’s concerned that Australians are incorrectly using their inhalers, adding those most likely to do so include young children, older adults, people with severe airflow limitation and people using more than one type of inhaler device.

NAC asthma and respiratory educator Judi Wicking said a number of new devices have hit the market over the past few years, making it hard for health professionals to keep track of the correct technique for all inhaler types.

Regardless of the type of inhaler device prescribed, NAC said patients need clear instruction, including a physical demonstration, and to have their technique checked regularly.

Wiking added many health professionals don’t realise how common poor technique is, nor how big an impact it can have on asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“The good news is that correcting patients’ inhaler technique has been shown to improve lung function, quality of life and asthma control,” she said.

To help get health professionals up to speed on the latest evidence on the prevalence and impact of incorrect inhaler technique, NAC launched an updated version of its information paper and a demonstration video series on inhaler technique for people with asthma or COPD.

The resources are targeted towards doctors, practice nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals working in general practice, hospitals and pharmacies.

NAC advised health professionals to first check their own technique, especially for new devices, and to ask patients to show them how they use their inhalers and provide one-on-one training to ensure that proper technique is used.

The information paper can be downloaded here and the videos can be viewed here.

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