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J Adv Nurs. 1997 Apr;25(4):699-708.

Teaching elderly patients how to use inhalers. A study to evaluate an education programme on inhaler technique, for elderly patients.

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St George's Healthcare NHS Trust, Bolingbroke Hospital, London, England.


Elderly patients often receive little or no teaching on the use of their inhalers. This study evaluated a patient teaching programme, designed specifically for elderly people. The sample (n = 27) was taken from patients who were prescribed inhalers and had been admitted to the elderly care wards of an acute provider unit. Individual inhaler technique was assessed, using a simple checklist, both before and after teaching and total scores calculated. Each subject received one to one teaching sessions by a registered nurse on four consecutive occasions that inhaled medication was due, together with an information sheet on inhaler technique. Total scores showed significant improvement; however, improvement on any one action was not found to be significant. Thus patient teaching leads to a significant improvement in inhaler technique; however, further research is necessary to determine whether this improvement is sustained over time. Recommendations for practice are made.

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