Supported self-management is a way of helping people manage their asthma on a day-to-day basis.
This programme of work is looking at ways of embedding supported self-management of asthma into primary care.
Supported self-management helps people adjust their treatment in response to changes in symptoms. This includes agreeing a Personal Asthma Action Plan. Studies show that this improves day-to-day control and reduces the risk of asthma attacks and time off work/school.
However, for many reasons, supported self-management is not widely implemented in practice: less than a quarter of people replying to an Asthma UK web-survey owned an action plan.
In a previous project, called PRISMS, we conducted a systematic review of self-management and support interventions that have been tried in the past. Our report suggested that effective interventions used a whole systems approach – targeting patient resources and education, professional training and organisational strategies.
We aim to help general practice teams embed supported self-management into routine asthma care.
In collaboration with a technology company we are developing an action plan ‘app’ for a smart phone or tablet as an option for those who prefer to use digital technology for communication and organising their lives.
We plan to develop self-management plans tailored to the language and culture of the South Asian community.
In partnership with the professional training organisation Education for Health we are developing training for doctors, nurses and practice staff so that they are more confident in providing and supporting asthma self-management.
We are evaluating an organisational initiative in Northern Ireland which has doubled asthma action plan ownership compared to the rest of the UK. We will use routine data to assess the impact of the scheme, and qualitative interviews to understand how primary care services implemented self-management to meet the incentive standards.
We will work with practices and our IT partners to develop and test organisational strategies (e.g. computer prompts, messages with repeat prescriptions) that fit in with their practice routines and which could promote and enable self-management support.
Once we have developed the different components we plan to integrate them into an intervention which we will pilot and test in a national trial.
Our findings will help people with asthma, healthcare professionals, policy-makers, commissioners and providers of asthma services.
The following students are working on projects as part of the 'Encouraging good asthma control' programme.