Asthma is one of the most common chronic conditions with 1.1 million children experiencing asthma in their childhood. Much of the related morbidity is due to poor management, particularly the under use of preventative medicine.
This was a collaborative participatory study aimed at identifying where along the asthma pathway resources needed to be focused to improve asthma management. Interviews and focus groups were used to explore barriers to optimal asthma management with communities, children, families and healthcare professionals (HCPs). Key themes were drawn from the data, prioritised and translated into an intervention.
Diagnosis was identified as the key priority and one that all parents/carers felt needed to be addressed first, although it was considered a low priority to HCP. For parents there was confusion surrounding the diagnostic process, and the label of asthma itself. The diagnostic process also raised concerns, with some HCPs being reluctant to diagnose or suggesting that some children may be ‘too young to diagnose’. Parents and carers reported problems with delays in treatment following a diagnosis, and inconsistent information being provided at the point of diagnosis. To improve the diagnostic process, a multifaceted, integrated intervention programme was developed.
This study highlighted that ‘getting a diagnosis’ was a priority. The disparity in priorities between HCPs and families around ‘getting a diagnosis’ emphasises the importance of working collaboratively with families as well as HCPs to ensure that key priorities, for service users and providers, are understood and addressed appropriately.
Funded by the NIHR HS and DR Programme (09/2001/19).