A certified asthma educator can play an important role in your asthma management team.1-2 Certified asthma educators are healthcare providers who have been specially trained and educated about all aspects of asthma, including:
How to communicate effectively with asthma patients and their families
After their specialist training, asthma educators must to pass a special exam before they can receive national certification.
How do certified asthma educators help patients?
Certified asthma educators provide patients and their families with education, support, and counselling about how to better understand and manage asthma.1-2 They help patients, families, and all of the healthcare providers in the asthma management team to work together to develop a personalized asthma management plan for the patient. They also help to monitor and adjust this plan over time, as need be.
Certified asthma educators can help patients to minimize the impact that living with asthma can have on a person’s quality of life, by:
Providing advice about how to recognize and reduce exposure to asthma triggers
Helping patients to understand why they need to take all of their treatments and medications regularly
Guiding and educating patients about the best ways to self-manage and control their asthma
What are some examples of asthma self-management strategies that certified asthma educators can provide?
To help patients learn the best ways to keep their asthma under control, asthma educators often focus on helping patients learn effective asthma self-management skills. When working with patients and their families, certified asthma educators can educate them about a range of strategies for self-management and how to put them into place in their day-to-day lives.3
To begin, an asthma educator will typically have long discussions with a patient to find out how much the person understands about asthma, its causes, and how it affects the body. The educator will learn as much as possible about the patient’s specific asthma triggers and symptoms. After gathering this information, the educator works with the patient to develop a set of preferences and goals for asthma control, taking into account all of the factors that affect how well the patient may be able to self-manage. The more a patient knows and understands about asthma, the better able the patient is to self-manage and keep it under control.
Next, asthma educators will usually work with patients and their healthcare providers to develop a written, up-to-date Asthma Action Plan. This plan is specially customized for each patient. It provides specific details about the patient’s current treatment plan on a day-to-day basis, with clear instructions for dealing with symptom flare-ups and/or asthma attacks. The certified asthma educator then regularly helps the patient and his or her asthma management team to review and update the Asthma Action Plan as needed.
Garvey, C. Advances In Asthma Care: Asthma Educator Certification. Californian Journal of Health Promotion 2003, Volume 1, Issue 1, 87-90. Available at http://www.cjhp.org/Volume1_2003/Issue1/87-90-garvey.pdf
UHS. What is a certified asthma educator? Accessed March 21, 2016. Available at http://www.uhs.net/wellness/asthma/
NPS Medicinewise. Patient self-management of asthma. Accessed March 21, 2016. Available at