Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the ability of nurse-run asthma clinics based in general practice compared with usual medical care to produce at least a moderate improvement in the quality of life of adults with asthma.
Methodology: A randomized controlled trial involving 80 asthma clinic and 90 usual medical care asthma participants, aged 18 years and older was conducted in 11 general practices in Adelaide. The main outcome measure was the St George's respiratory questionnaire (SGRQ), from which quality-of-life scores were used to assess therapeutic benefit. Lung function measurements and health services utilization data were also collected.
Results: One hundred and fifty-three participants (90%) were reviewed at follow up after 6-9 months. There was little difference between groups in baseline measures or for the 6-month follow-up outcomes, including the mean difference in total SGRQ scores (-0.5, 95% confidence interval (CI) -4.0, 2.9) and the mean difference in percentage predicted FEV(1) (2.3%, 95% CI -0.7, 5.3 pre-bronchodilator; 0.4%, 95% CI -5.1, 5.9 post-bronchodilator). Trends in health services utilization were noted.
Conclusions: Nurse-run asthma clinics based in general practice and usual medical care were similar in their effects on quality of life and lung function in adults. These findings cannot be generalized to hospital outpatients and other clinics that manage more severe asthmatic patients.