To determine the effectiveness of a home-based asthma education intervention in increasing appropriate nebulizer use and reducing symptom frequency, emergency department (ED) visits, and hospitalizations over 12 months.
A randomized clinical trial.
Pediatric primary care, pulmonary/allergy, and ED practices associated with the University of Maryland Medical System and The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore.
Children with persistent asthma, aged 2 to 9 years, with regular nebulizer use and an ED visit or hospitalization within the past 12 months. Children were randomized into the intervention (n = 110) or control (n = 111) group. Follow-up data were available for 95 intervention and 86 control children.
Home-based asthma education, including symptom recognition, home treatment of acute symptoms, appropriate asthma medication, and nebulizer practice.
Main Outcome Measures
Estimates of mean differences in asthma symptom frequency, number of ED visits and hospitalizations and appropriate quick relief, controller medication, and nebulizer practice over 12 months.
Of the 221 children, 181 (81.9%) completed the study. There were no significant differences in home nebulizer practice, asthma morbidity, ED visits, or hospitalizations between groups (P range, .11-.79). Although most children received appropriate nonurgent asthma care (mean, 2 visits per 6 months), more than one third of all children received at least 6 quick-relief medication prescriptions during 12 months, with no difference by group.
A nebulizer education intervention had no effect on asthma severity or health care use. Of concern is the high quick-relief and low controller medication use in young children with asthma seen nearly every 3 months for nonurgent care.