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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.

  • EPR-3 recommendation: The Expert Panel recommends 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.
  • Can be peak flow- or symptom-based, depending on needs of patient.
  • Download the AIM pdf-based e-AAPs that include drop down menus for all asthma, GERD and allergy medications and dosages, in 3 versions: ages 0-4, school, adult.
  • 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
    • Consider adding option of doubling ICS or adding oral steroids in yellow zone.
    • 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.
  • Michigan Asthma Resource Kit – patient handouts
  • National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute asthma guidelines and Guideline Implementation Panel messages
  • Learn more about Asthma Action Plans