BACKGROUND--A hospital based, community service asthma education programme for adults to improve asthma knowledge, promote compliance with medication, and reduce morbidity was evaluated. METHODS--The programme was evaluated using a randomised experimental and control group design with repeated measurements over 12 months. A volunteer community sample of 192 respondents was recruited of whom 116 satisfied the inclusion criteria. At the 12 month follow up some data were obtained for all subjects. Intervention subjects attended four 2.5 hour education sessions at weekly intervals. An asthma knowledge questionnaire was administered and compliance was assessed from diary records. Morbidity was assessed retrospectively by questionnaire, prospectively by diary, and objectively by spirometry and serial peak expiratory flow rate monitoring. The adequacy of medical treatment was also assessed. Data were collected at baseline, immediately after the intervention, and at three, six, nine, and 12 months after intervention. RESULTS--Improvements occurred in knowledge and compliance in the intervention group but the impact on morbidity was modest; this was due, at least in part, to the inadequacy of medical treatment. CONCLUSIONS--Treatment of asthma should be reviewed and optimised in conjunction with self-management programmes in order to improve health outcomes.
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