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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : February 2005
asthma Action on asthma CCORDING to National Asthma Council (NAC) spokesperson Dr Mark Yates, the first thing pharmacists should be aware of is that, given the right education, older people with asthma are generally more compliant. A ‘In fact there is some data which sug- gests older people are more compliant than younger people,’ Dr Yates said. Dr Yates, director of sub acute medi- cine, Ballarat Health Services, added that this inherently made sense. ‘Older people on the whole are the sur- vivors; if they were non-compliant and disinterested in their own health, then they have either often not made it by the time they get into their 70s or 80s, or else they are so impaired they may not go to a community pharmacist,’ he said. ‘So the population who meet the com- munity pharmacist are a population of people who have survived. They can be more compliant and they want to engage.’ The older person’s goals in asthma management were quite different to younger people, Dr Yates said. ‘An adolescent doesn’t believe they are going to die; a middle-aged adult is going to be worried about dying because that’s something you worry about when you have got children and family and jobs. An older person is not so worried aboutdying because they have done a lot of the things that they have wanted to do,’ Dr Yates said. ‘But older people, like younger people, are very interested in maintaining func- tion—they want to be well,’ he said. ‘So saying “if you don’t take this you 90 ? THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL.86 FEBRUARY 2005 Pharmacists can play a major role in supporting the elderly with asthma but before launching into education on medications and their delivery, a pharmacist first has to determine how they will get the messages through. LISA OFFORD reports might have a respiratory arrest and end up in hospital” is not relevant. But if you say “you need this so you can get around 18 holes of golf”—now that’s interesting. ‘You want to take this so you are not coughing and spluttering during the Bingo competition; you want to take this so you can enjoy your bowls and you don’t have any urinary incontinence. ‘Go in with an attitude that you have got a population who wants to comply then find the goals that actually are rele- vant to them in their treatment rather than the standard of “you want to be able to blow this percentage on your peak flow meter”,’ he said. It’s important to bring the terminology down to something that is concrete and relevant to that person, Dr Yates said.