Background: The effects on morbidity were examined of providing an educational intervention and a written guided self-management plan to the parents of pre-school children following a recent attendance at hospital for asthma or wheeze.
Methods: A prospective, randomised, partially blinded, controlled trial was designed at two secondary care centres. Over a 13 month period 200 children aged 18 months to 5 years at the time of admission to a children's ward or attendance at an accident and emergency department or children's (emergency) assessment unit (A&E/CAU) with a primary diagnosis of acute severe asthma or wheezing were recruited. 10 1 children were randomised into the control group and received usual care and 99 were assigned to the intervention group and received: (1) a pre-school asthma booklet; (2) a written guided self-management plan; and (3) two 20 minute structured educational sessions between a specialist respiratory nurse and the parent(s) and child. Subjects were assessed at 3, 6, and 12 months. The main outcomes were GP consultation rates, hospital re-admissions, and attendances at A&E/CAU. Secondary outcomes included disability score, caregivers' quality of life, and parental knowledge of asthma.
Results: There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups during the 12 month follow up period for any of the main or secondary outcome measures.
Conclusions: These results do not support the hypothesis that the introduction of an educational package and a written guided self-management plan to the parents of pre-school children with asthma who had recently attended hospital for troublesome asthma or wheeze reduces morbidity over the subsequent 12 months.