Helping patients attain and maintain asthma control: reviewing the role of the nurse practitioner

J Multidiscip Healthc. 2011;4:299-309. doi: 10.2147/JMDH.S22966. Epub 2011 Aug 5.

Abstract

Nurse practitioners (NPs) have a unique opportunity as frontline caregivers and patient educators to recognize, assess, and effectively treat the widespread problem of uncontrolled asthma. This review provides a perspective on the role of the NP in implementing the revised National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) Guidelines put forth by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, thereby helping patients achieve and maintain asthma control. A literature search of PubMed was performed using the terms asthma, nurse practitioner, asthma control, burden, impact, morbidity, mortality, productivity, quality of life, uncontrolled asthma, NAEPP guidelines, assessment, pharmacotherapy, safety. Despite the increased morbidity and mortality and impaired quality of life attributable to uncontrolled asthma, the 2007 NAEPP asthma guidelines are greatly underused. NPs have an opportunity to identify patients at risk and provide enhanced care and education for asthma control. Often, NPs can prescribe medication for and manage these patients, but it is necessary to be able to discern which patients require referral to a specialist.

Keywords: NAEPP guidelines; asthma control; asthma medications; education; nurse practitioner; referral.