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HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, Singapore

SGH launches asthma counseling

 About 90% of patients who went through counseling followed up with a respiratory specialist.

The Singapore General Hospital has partnered with AstraZeneca to create an asthma counseling program for patients and emergency department physicians to reduce ED visits and hospitalisations of asthma patients.

Called the Asthma-COPD Afterhours Respiratory Nurse at Emergency or A-CARE, an SGH nurse trained in asthma care works three nights a week in ED where the nurse teaches patients how to use their inhalers correctly, provides brief asthma education, and issues self-management plans to patients.

The nurse also discusses with ED physicians to make joint patient care decisions, recommendations for asthma inhaler therapy, and appropriate post-discharge follow-up.

The program made several notable progress like a 90% increase in the likelihood of a follow-up with a respiratory specialist after being treated in the ED.

“We hope that this will ensure sustainability of the best practices and further improve outcomes of asthma patients in Singapore,” said Associate Professor Koh Siyue Mariko, the senior consultant of the Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine at SGH.

With the success of the pilot, SGH has already made plans to introduce phase two of A-CARE which aims to train ED staff in asthma counselling so that all asthma patients admitted at SGH ED are reviewed by a trained asthma nurse, regardless of the day of week or time of admission.

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