What is an Asthma Action Plan and how does it help?

Medically reviewed by Dr Nelson Lau MBBS FRACGP,
General Practitioner and Digital Health Specialist

Asthma afflicts over 2.5 million Australians. Characterised by chronic airway inflammation and broncho-constriction, asthma symptoms run the gamut from nagging to life-threatening. As the most common chronic illness in children and adolescents, asthma remains a leading cause of hospitalisations, lost school and workdays, and reduced quality of life. Equipping yourself or your child with a written Asthma Action Plan lays vital groundwork for effectively managing asthma and minimising its life disruption. 

Defining the Asthma Action Plan

An Asthma Action Plan is a comprehensive, personalised blueprint that individuals can reference to optimise asthma control through medication adjustments, lifestyle modifications and prompt responsiveness to shifting symptoms. Action Plans itemise daily management regimens, provide indicators for recognising deteriorating asthma control requiring intervening treatment escalations, and specifying emergency response protocols for acute attacks that require immediate medical attention. 

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Asthma Action Plan Rationale and Rewards

Asthmas unpredictable nature can often cause anxiety and helplessness. Equipping yourself or your child with clearly defined treatment algorithms in Asthma Action Plans helps to bring a sense of control over this highly variable condition. Those who implement Asthma Action Plans show substantially fewer hospitalisations, emergency department visits, and lost productivity from asthma attacks. They report improved confidence, willingness to engage in normal activities and overall life quality improvements. 

Tailoring the Optimal Asthma Action Plan

To maximise usefulness, Asthma Action Plans require thorough personalised design aligning with individuals’ asthma patterns, triggers, medication responses and peak flow baselines. Creating a maximally effective plan requires an in-depth dialog with one’s healthcare provider detailing asthma history, previous attack attributes, trigger identification, typical and crisis medications, and optimal peak flow rates.    Pediatric Asthma Action Plans also integrate parental observations of subtle signs forewarning deterioration of the child’s condition that warrants early intervention. They provide instructions educating school staff regarding appropriate asthma first aid responses. To ensure that they are up to date, both adult and pediatric plans should undergo periodic review and updates alongside changes in one’s health status.  

Key Components of Comprehensive Asthma Action Plans

High-quality Asthma Action Plans include:   1. Daily Management Guidance  : Individualised instructions for properly taking routine controller and rescue medications, avoiding triggers, dietary considerations and integrating asthma-friendly lifestyle modifications.    2. Levels of Alert : Clear parameter ranges for categorising asthma control status as doing well, worsening or medical alert situation requiring urgent care. Tables may reference peak flow readings, symptom type/severity, night waking with asthma or medication use frequency escalation.    3. Treatment Escalation Steps : Explicit medication dose increases, additions or adjustments for each alert level guiding patients to intervene independently to prevent deterioration of their asthma.  4. Emergency Protocols : Clear direction regarding when to utilise oral steroids, call emergency services, or proceed directly to the closest emergency department.  Take charge of your health. Call the doctor or GP today to discuss your Asthma concerns, get online scripts instantly and embark on a journey towards better well-being. 

Access is Imperative for Functional Asthma Action Plans

For plans to prove effective for individuals, they must remain readily accessible whenever needed in homes, workplaces, schools and caregiver facilities. Wallet cards or smartphone photos allow quick information retrieval for early decision-making or acute attack management. Updates every 6-12 months ensure that the action plans are in keeping with the patient’s changing health status. 

 Asthma Action Plans, when carefully tailored and readily accessible, are invaluable tools for Australians managing asthma. They provide individuals with enhanced control over their condition. With these thoughtfully prepared guides, Australians dealing with asthma have a brighter outlook, equipped to handle the varying stages of their symptoms more effectively. 

Resources and Templates in Australia

In Australia, various resources and templates for Asthma Action Plans are available to cater to the diverse needs of individuals with asthma. These resources include:

1. National Asthma Council Australia: This organisation provides a range of Asthma Action Plan templates that can be downloaded and customised. These templates are designed to be suitable for people of different ages, asthma severity levels, and cultural backgrounds.

2. Asthma Australia: Asthma Australia offers an Asthma Action Plan that is suitable for both adults and children and is accepted in schools and childcare facilities.

3. Translated Versions: For those from non-English speaking backgrounds, Asthma Action Plans are available in various community languages, ensuring accessibility for all individuals.

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Disclaimer

This content is created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. For emergencies please immediately contact 000.