BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Inpatient asthma education interventions provide benefit compared with usual care, but evaluation of the most effective educational model is needed. We compared the impact of interactive versus didactic inpatient pediatric asthma education on subsequent emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations.

METHODS:

Children (aged 2‒16) with asthma admitted to a tertiary care children’s hospital with an asthma exacerbation between October 2016 and June 2017 were randomly assigned to interactive or didactic (control) asthma education. The primary outcome was asthma ED visits at 6 and 12 months; secondary outcomes included hospitalizations (6 and 12 months), inhaler technique, asthma knowledge, symptoms, quality of life, and parental management skills at baseline, discharge, and/or 12 months.

RESULTS:

One hundred forty participants (69 interactive, 71 control) completed the study. There were no differences in ED visits at 6 or 12 months. Compared to controls, the interactive group had fewer hospitalizations (10.1% vs 22.5%; P = .04) at 6 months. Inhaler technique in the interactive group improved at discharge (mean change 4.07 [95% confidence interval (CI): 3.21–4.94]) and remained increased at 12 months (P = .03). Patient-reported asthma symptoms and quality of life were similar in both groups at baseline (19.9 vs 20.62, best possible score 8) and significantly improved in the interactive group at 12 months (least square mean change, 3.52 vs −1.75; P < .01).

CONCLUSIONS:

There were no differences in ED visits; however, the interactive education reduced asthma hospitalizations over a 6-month period. These findings demonstrate that educational delivery methods can play a role in improving clinical outcomes for asthma.

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