Q&A with Rob Jones, Certified Asthma Educator

robandjanWhat does a Certified Asthma Educator do?

A Certified Asthma Educator works with other health care professionals and patients about how to diagnose and manage asthma. The majority of my patients come to me through a referral from a physician or nurse practitioner.

When a patient comes to you, what are some things they can expect you to ask them and what can they expect during the appointment?

The questions I’m asking are focused on diagnosing the severity of their asthma. Some things I might ask include: what type of medications are you using? How often are you using them? Are you experiencing limitations to exercise? Do you find yourself waking up at night with asthma symptoms?

Following this, I’ll conduct Pulmonary Functions Tests that demonstrate their peak air flow and lung capacity. Based on the findings, I’ll spend time educating the patient on actions they can take to improve their overall health and write up a recommended therapeutic plan for the physician or nurse practitioner to review and implement with the patient during a follow-up visit.

The session takes just over an hour. A lot of that time is spent educating the patient about asthma, including the types of things that can trigger asthma and what they can do to improve their quality of life.

What are some common misconceptions about asthma?

People can overuse inhalers, masking the severity of the disease. There are controller meds that can help manage the disease and other steps can be taken to make it better. Asthma doesn’t go away, though. It is a chronic disease if managed properly can get better.

What are some goals of Asthma Control?

As a Certified Asthma Educator, I follow guidelines set-up by the 2007 National Institutes of Health Asthma Guidelines. The primary focus of asthma control is to reduce impairment and risk by working with patients to understand the severity of their asthma, identify ways to control it and measure how responsive they are to their asthma plan.

I have asthma. What can I do to improve my situation?

Talk to your primary care physician. Depending on the severity of your asthma, there may be additional or different steps you can take within your treatment plan. Or, with a physician referral, you can meet with a certified asthma educator to better understand your diagnosis and treatment.