Developing a self-learning programme for people with asthma

A summary of research, by Ana Sá-Sousa (right), from the ERS International Congress 2023

A new self-learning programme for people with asthma in Portugal is under development. A new study describes the first phase of its development, which will be presented at the ERS International Congress 2023.

Patients’ and carers’ needs are central to the programme, which is being produced by healthcare professionals and patients.

What did the study look at?

The study describes the development of the first phase of a free online self-learning programme for people with asthma. A group of 6 people with asthma and 13 researchers were part of the committee. They were asked to find the most important topics to include within the programme.

The research has been awarded an ELF Travel Grant, which recognises the best abstracts in patient-centred research submitted to the ERS International Congress.

What do the results show?

The first phase of the development of the programme established the key topics to include.

The following topics were found to be the most important to both people living with asthma and healthcare professionals:

  • Asthma attacks: what to do before and after.
  • Asthma monitoring, including symptoms, self-management and triggers.
  • Living with asthma, including limitations, quality of life, costs, mental health and sleep.
  • Physical activity and asthma.

There were some differences between the topics that healthcare professionals felt were important compared to people with asthma. These will be considered during future stages of development.

Why is this important?

This abstract describes the early development of this online programme. When self-learning programmes are developed, research teams will submit their work to be peer-reviewed. This can be as an abstract within a conference such as this, or as a research paper for a publication. Peer reviews allows other experts in the field to review the process. If it is accepted for conferences, as this one has been, or published in a journal, it allows the people taking the programme to feel confident that it is evidence-based and approved by experts working in the field.

Involving people with a health condition at the start of a research process can bring many benefits. People with asthma may not always take their medicine as advised and this can delay an improvement in symptoms. Understanding a patient and carer perspective on the barriers to taking medicine is important. Involving people with experience of asthma at the start of a self-learning programme could help patients follow their recommended medicine plan.

View the research poster:

Title: Co-creation of a self-learning programme for patients with asthma: patients’ and health professionals’ perspectives on the relevant topics