Culture-specific asthma education has benefits
Educating asthma sufferers in a way that is specific and appropriate to their individual and cultural needs can make a positive difference in their quality of life, researchers have found.
“Culture-specific programs, in comparison to generic education programs or usual care, were effective at improving asthma related quality of life for adults and asthma knowledge scores for children and parents,” Emily Bailey told Reuters Health.
However, “There is not enough evidence at this stage to say that culture-specific programs will show an improvement for asthma exacerbations,” said Bailey, of Menzies School of Health Research in Queensland, Australia.
She and colleagues combined information from 3 studies that assessed the efficacy of a culture-specific asthma education program, compared with general education and usual care, among 396 asthmatics aged 7 to 59 years old.
The study included African-American, Hispanic, and Punjabi, Hindi or Urdu-speaking adults, children and their family members, Bailey and colleagues report in The Cochrane Library, a publication of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research.
“We were only able to include 3 studies in our review, which has given us a limited picture of what could be achieved by using culture-specific asthma education,” Bailey said.
Nevertheless, adults who underwent culture-specific education reported higher quality of life scores than those who received general education. In addition, children appeared to better understand their condition and their parents showed a trend toward better knowledge when offered culture-specific education compared with generic asthma education.
However, none of the studies the researchers reviewed showed a significant improvement in asthma flare-ups, the frequency of attacks, or the number of emergency department visits among those in the intervention groups compared with generic asthma education groups.
“With more studies and larger groups of participants, a clearer understanding of the potential benefits of using culture-specific education will be gained,” Bailey surmised.
SOURCE: The Cochrane Library, April 2008
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