Be the Asthma Expert


There probably isn’t an RT on the face of the earth who hasn’t treated a patient with asthma. But just providing asthma therapy that’s been ordered by a physician does not qualify a therapist as an asthma expert. To earn that title, you must learn more about the condition and how to educate the people who have it on how they can minimize its effects.

Denise Willis, MS, RRT, RRT-NPS, AE-C, is a research respiratory therapist at Arkansas Children’s Hospital with some insights into how RTs can up their asthma credibility in their facilities. Here are her tips —

Stay up to date on the latest guidelines. Care guidelines for managing asthma change over time as new information and research become available. Make sure you are familiar with the most recent recommendations and evidence-based practices.

Learn about insurance coverage for asthma medications. Most plans have a preferred drug list. Medications that are not preferred may not be covered or have a higher co-pay, which could result in a patient not filling a prescription.

Know what resources are available. Many individuals with chronic conditions such as asthma have challenges in obtaining medications. Learn about what resources are available to help those who may be struggling with access to medications or other issues that may be a barrier to keeping their asthma under control.

Engage the patient and be relatable. Patient education should be interactive and engaging. Allow them to ask questions when they may not understand something. Adapt your approach when needed to help them relate. While a mobile app might be a great way for a young adult to help manage their asthma and remind them to take medications, this may not work for someone who is not technology savvy. Find what works for each individual to help them reach their treatment goals.

Want to improve your asthma management skills? Check out these AARC courses related to asthma.