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Patient Educ Couns. 2011 Nov;85(2):e131-43. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2011.01.025. Epub 2011 Mar 10.

Understanding what helps or hinders asthma action plan use: a systematic review and synthesis of the qualitative literature.

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Alliance for Self-Care Research, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK.



To understand better what helps and/or hinders asthma action plan use from the professionals and patients/carers perspective.


Systematic review and qualitative synthesis (using meta-ethnography).


Nineteen studies (20 papers) were included in an analysis of patients/carers' and professionals' views. Seven main influences on action plan implementation were identified including perceived un-helpfulness and irrelevance of the plans. Translation and synthesis of the original authors' interpretations suggested that action plan promotion and use was influenced by professional and patient/carers' asthma beliefs and attitudes and patient/carer experiences of managing asthma. Action plan use is hindered because professionals and patients/carers have different explanatory models of asthma, its management and their respective roles in the management process. Patients/carers, based on their experiential knowledge of their condition, perceive themselves as capable, effective in managing their asthma, but health professionals do not always share this view.


Professionally provided medically focused action plans that do not 'fit' with and incorporate the patients'/carers' views of asthma, and their management strategies, will continue to be under-utilised.


Professionals need to develop a more patient-centred, partnership-based, approach to the joint development and review of action plans, recognising the experiential asthma knowledge of patients/carers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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