29 May 2012

Pictorial guide to asthma medication working

9:41 am on 29 May 2012

An online picture guide to asthma medication for Pacific children in west Auckland is being hailed as a big step towards reducing their high rates of admission to hospital with severe attacks.

The latest New Zealand Medical Journal reports that an evaluation of the pictorial asthma medication plan resulted in a big jump in children using their preventive inhalers - and none going to hospital.

Waitemata District Health Board developed the pictorial medication plan in English and three Pacific languages with the West Fono Health Trust.

Forty-eight Pacific children were given a colourful, personalised plan during a year-long study.

Project leader John Kristiansen says there was a big jump in children using their 'everyday' preventive inhalers rather than just relieving inhalers when their asthma got worse.

He says none of the children ended up in hospital, defying national trends, and they were more active, played more sport and slept better.

Mr Kristiansen says the pictorial asthma medication plans are now used by about 50 health agencies around the country and the aim is to adapt them for other ethnicities and age groups.