AS practitioners in any field, we must choose our clinical battles. In other words, a GP or pharmacist has limited time to interact with and educate patients, so we need to make that time count!
Inhaler technique in respiratory patients is of interest to me and many others in the field. There is a solid consensus that repeated coaching of the patient on inhaler technique is likely to improve delivery of the inhaled medicine, therefore clinical outcomes and also reduce waste. Inhaled medicines contribute heavily to the NHS drug spend so we want to make sure they are used correctly and not wasted.
Jon Bell lecture slides highlight inhaler waste and better patient outcomes with good inhaler technique.
Choosing the correct inhaler can help too. Toby Capstick outlines this, as well as his opinion on the importance of good inhaler technique in the following blogs:
Inhaler devices: which is best for my patient
The Importance of inhaler technique
Dr Andy Whittamore and Hala Jawad have collaborated to present a simple guide on how to get started with demonstrating inhaler technique. I admire their efforts to bring the evidence based theory off the page and share with patients and professional alike. Please have a look and feel free as I did to cheer on their efforts!
The video above is excellent because Dr. Whittamore explains how he uses that precious patient facing time to coach the basics of technique. There are, of course, a host of videos online however this collection below are in my view among the best.
Why not refer patients to these?
As a pharmacist, for me, the most important take away message from these experts is the need to actually do it! Come out from the dispensary and make sure the patient has received the inhaler that is right for them, and also that they can use it correctly.
Many thanks to the contributors to this blog:
Dr Andrew Whittamore
Ms Hala Jawad
Toby Capstick (previous blogs)
Jon Bell (slide share on inhaler wastage)
I hope it goes some way to encouraging you as a pharmacist, or other healthcare professional, to consider inhaler technique again.
Johnathan Laird is a community pharmacist independent prescriber with a special interest in asthma. He is based in Aberdeen.
Follow Johnathan @johnathanlaird