, Volume 27, Issue 10, pp 1317-1325
Date: 17 May 2012

Teaching the Use of Respiratory Inhalers to Hospitalized Patients with Asthma or COPD: a Randomized Trial

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ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND

Hospitalized patients frequently misuse their respiratory inhalers, yet it is unclear what the most effective hospital-based educational intervention is for this population.

OBJECTIVE

To compare two strategies for teaching inhaler use to hospitalized patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

DESIGN

A Phase-II randomized controlled clinical trial enrolled hospitalized adults with physician diagnosed asthma or COPD.

PARTICIPANTS

Hospitalized adults (age 18 years or older) with asthma or COPD.

INTERVENTIONS

Participants were randomized to brief intervention [BI]: single-set of verbal and written step-by-step instructions, or, teach-to-goal [TTG]: BI plus repeated demonstrations of inhaler use and participant comprehension assessments (teach-back).

MAIN MEASURES

The primary outcome was metered-dose inhaler (MDI) misuse post-intervention (<75% steps correct). Secondary outcomes included Diskus® misuse, self-reported inhaler technique confidence and prevalence of 30-day health-related events.

KEY RESULTS

Of 80 eligible participants, fifty (63%) were enrolled (BI n = 26, TTG n = 24). While the majority of participants reported being confident with their inhaler technique (MDI 70%, Diskus® 94%), most misused their inhalers pre-intervention (MDI 62%, Diskus® 78%). Post-intervention MDI misuse was significantly lower after TTG vs. BI (12.5 vs. 46%, p = 0.01). The results for Diskus® were similar and approached significance (25 vs. 80%, p = 0.05). Participants with 30-day acute health-related events were less common in the group receiving TTG vs. BI (1 vs. 8, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

TTG appears to be more effective compared with BI. Patients over-estimate their inhaler technique, emphasizing the need for hospital-based interventions to correct inhaler misuse. Although TTG was associated with fewer post-hospitalization health-related events, larger, multi-centered studies are needed to evaluate the durability and clinical outcomes associated with this hospital-based education.

Registry Number: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01456494