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Asthma Action Plans for Health Care Professionals

All people who have asthma should receive a written asthma action plan to guide their self-management efforts. It can be peak flow- or symptom-based, depending on needs of patient.

NHLBI & GINA Guidelines

National and international guidelines recommend that all patients who have asthma be provided a written asthma action plan that includes instructions for: (1) daily treatment (including medications and environmental controls), and (2) how to recognize and handle worsening asthma.

Tips for better Asthma Action Plan Creation and Use

  • Avoid using any medical abbreviations and write legibly
  • Keep instructions brief and easy to read- have the patient/caregiver read the plan back to you or develop scenarios for them to answer to assure their understanding
  • Look for Asthma Action Plans that are set up for SMART medication use.
  • Be sure to list all steps you want them to follow to try to prevent an ED visit
  • Instruct patients/caregivers to use the action plan when they have a cold and/or for exposure to a known trigger
  • Be sure patients/caregivers understand how long to stay in the yellow or red zones before contacting the doctor's office or seeking emergency care, i.e. "Albuterol, 3 puffs every four hours for up to 24 hours, then contact the office"
  • Include contact information for during and after office hours
  • Be sure to assess your patient's understanding of the plan at every clinic visit. If the level of control changes, adjust plan as needed and review with patient/caregiver.

More Asthma Management Resources