Asthma is a long-term condition that affects a person’s airways. It usually causes symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and breathlessness. Contact with asthma triggers can make a person’s symptoms worse and bring on an asthma attack. Asthma affects about five million people in the UK. More information including diagnosis, symptoms and treatment can be found on the Asthma UK website.
Around 200,000 people in the UK have severe asthma. This is a debilitating form of the condition that does not respond to usual treatments and can cause people with the condition to spend their lives in and out of hospital. In 2016/17 (the most recent data available) there were 77,124 admissions to hospital for asthma in the UK.
The care bundle was developed by the British Thoracic Society with input from other specialist organisations. It drew on resources including the National Review of Asthma Deaths Report – Why asthma still kills, guidelines and quality standards for asthma. Five elements were selected as the actions most likely to improve patient care and improve outcomes:
- Assessment of inhaler technique
- Review of medications
- Provision of a written action plan and patient self-management
- Consideration of triggering and exacerbating factors
- Appropriate follow-up arrangements
The asthma care bundle is designed to be used primarily for patients discharged from hospital following an acute asthma attack. The bundle can be applied to both adults and children, although special considerations may apply to children under five years of age.
The key national programme ambition is to support an increase in the proportion of patients in acute hospitals receiving every element of the British Thoracic Society asthma discharge care bundle (for which they are eligible) to 80% by March 2023.