People with asthma are being urged to visit their GP to ensure they have an up-to-date Written Asthma Action Plan (WAAP) to help them manage serious asthma flare-ups during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Professor Nick Zwar, Chair of the National Asthma Council Australia Guidelines Committee,said they are concerned that many Australians with asthma are not following a WAAP when they have an asthma flare-up and may ultimately end up in an emergency department.
“People are worried about restrictions when visiting their GP during the pandemic and if they don’t have a WAAP to refer to, they can ultimately end up in an emergency department with serious asthma symptoms,” said Professor Zwar.
The National Asthma Council Australia says that while recognised as an integral part of effective asthma self-management, WAAP uptake is limited with only 40% of children and around a quarter of adults with asthma having one and fewer using it.
“During COVID, it is more important than ever for all of the 2.7 million Australians with asthma to develop a WAAP in consultation with their doctor and follow it.
“Not only will it help the person with asthma and/or their carer take early action to prevent or reduce the severity of an asthma attack, but it also provides clear instructions on how to adjust medication in response to asthma symptoms. A WAAP also outlines when and how to get medical care, reducing the risk of Emergency Department visits or hospital admissions during COVID.
“We are encouraging all health care professionals to check that their patients with asthma have a personalised, up-to-date, written asthma action plan and that they, or the parent/carer if it is a child, understand how to follow it,” said Professor Zwar.
The call to action is being supported by The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) President Dr Karen Price.
“I am concerned that throughout this pandemic, some patients with asthma are avoiding visiting their usual GP,” she said.
“We want to reassure patients that GPs are still available to care for patients with asthma, that includes telehealth consultations by telephone or video as well as in-person appointments.
“Remember that if a patient opts for a telehealth consultation, a written asthma action plan can be discussed, updated and delivered electronically".
(FOR HP’s) Download a PDF of the National Asthma Council Australia WAAP: https://www.nationalasthma.org.au/living-with-asthma/resources/health-professionals/asthma-action-plans/hp-asthma-action-plans-by-national-asthma-council-australia
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