Media Releases

New strategy to boost use of asthma action plans

6 Dec 2019

As part of its commitment to the National Asthma Strategy 2018, the National Asthma Council Australia has launched findings from its extensive multi-phased project re-evaluating Written Asthma Action Plans (WAAPs) as a self-management tool for the 2.5 million Australians with asthma 

As part of a system-wide shakeup aimed at making life safer and easier for people living with asthma, the findings outline five new priorities the Asthma Council plans to spearhead in collaboration with stakeholders and people with asthma to help increase WAAP uptake.  

  • Revising standardised templates
  • Pursuing technological solutions
  • Increasing workforce support
  • Raising public awareness
  • Advocating for systems level change

Asthma Council CEO Siobhan Brophy says that with research showing only a quarter of Australian adults with asthma and roughly 40% of children have a written plan, it’s time to rethink WAAPs.  

‘We’ve consulted a broad range of health professionals and consumers and while most believe WAAPs are crucial to asthma management, the realities of clinical practice and living with asthma need to be factored into the design of future interventions,’ says Ms Brophy. 

In its community survey, half of WAAP users said a plan helped them deal with asthma flare-ups, and 40% said it helped them recognise when their asthma wasn’t well controlled, however there were still significant barriers to WAAP uptake.  

‘While the NAC WAAP template has been a mainstay for many years, the availability of nearly 40 different WAAP templates has caused confusion for people living with or caring for someone with asthma, and made it challenging for health care professionals and those working in schools to ensure the correct WAAP is in use,’ says Ms Brophy 

By looking at the potential for WAAP integration into existing or new technological developments such as My Health Record and primary practice software, and by upgrading its Asthma Buddy mobile website, the Asthma Council aims to make plans more accessible, usable and recordable.

‘Health professionals also flagged the time it takes to fill out a WAAP during limited consultation periods, and their lack of alignment with medication labels and prescriptions,’ says Ms Brophy. 

Throughout the project, both consumers and health professionals identified opportunities to optimise WAAP uptake and asthma self-management including an increased role for community pharmacists and nurses, as well as greater patient engagement and awareness of the importance of WAAPs.  

Read the full Rethinking WAAP findings here and visit the National Asthma Council for more resources and information for health professionals.

Media enquiries

For further information, or to arrange an interview with a National Asthma Council Australia spokesperson, please contact:
Lelde McCoy, The Reputation Group
: 0417 362 768
: [email protected]