A South Australian population survey of the ownership of asthma action plans

Richard E. Ruffin, David Wilson, Anne Marie Southcott, Brian Smith, Robert J Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To examine the relationships between ownership of written asthma action plans, asthma morbidity, use of devices, and patients' perceptions of their asthma management. Design and setting A random population survey (in 1996) of the South Australian population aged 15 years or over, using interviewers to administer a questionnaire. Participants People who reported that they had current, doctor‐diagnosed asthma. Main outcome measures Prevalence of written asthma action plans; night‐time awakenings from asthma; ownership of peak flow meters; and people's perceptions of their asthma management. Results The ownership of asthma action plans by people with self‐reported asthma was 33% and has declined since 1995 (42%; P<0.001). Fifteen per cent were wakened weekly or more frequently by asthma symptoms. These people were more likely to have a peak flow meter and a written action plan, but less likely to consider they had been provided with enough information about their asthma, to feel comfortable managing their asthma, or to find it easy to see their doctor. Having a written asthma action plan was associated with regular corticosteroid use, understanding asthma, having enough information and owning a peak flow meter. Conclusions Ownership of asthma action plans in South Australia is suboptimal. Before we develop new strategies to improve asthma outcomes, we must determine whether there is a need to target people with less severe asthma and/or improve the use of guidelines by health professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-351
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes


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