Online Program

Asthma counselor training in vulnerable environments: Adapting and implementing a successful evidence-based model

Monday, November 2, 2015

Eleanor Thornton, M.S., MCHES, AE-C, Visionary Consulting Partners, LLC, Fairfax, VA
Claire Hayes, PhD, MPH, Visionary Consulting Partners, LLC, Fairfax, VA
Suzanne Kennedy, PhD, Rho, Inc., Chapel Hill, NC

Background:  Evidence-based patient counseling interventions have proven effective in improving behavioral and clinical outcomes in those with chronic disease. Researchers implemented an asthma counselor training model based on two National Institutes of Health (NIH) asthma interventions that could address the challenges facing different community settings including post-disaster New Orleans (HEAL) and federally qualified health centers (CHAMPS) in Tucson, AZ, Grand Rapids, MI, and Rincon, PR.

Methods: Training evolved from multiple, centralized, in-person sessions to webinars, and training sessions that utilized innovative evidence-based asthma risk assessment tools, case studies, and readiness assessments. Trainee selection criteria were also modified to meet the needs of the different organizations.  Intervention measures such as patient-counselor contacts or visits, intervention modules assigned and completed, as well as symptoms were measured and reported.

Results: After employing a rigorous counseling staff selection process and providing more intensive, individualized counselor training, the rate of patient contacts increased by nearly 100%.  Intervention modules (i.e. medication, adherence, environmental exposures) were completed >80% of the time when assigned. Those patient’s with more asthma counselor contacts also experienced a larger decrease in symptoms (p=0.06). Asthma symptoms were reduced by 45% in HEAL, p<0.001, consistent with results of the NIH interventions. All HEAL and CHAMPS counselors achieved National Asthma Educator Board Certification by intervention completion (n=7).

Conclusion: Training strategies adapted from evidence-based interventions can be tailored to meet the demands of the intervention setting. This model incorporated organizational and trainee needs, promoted fidelity, and systematically integrated and enhanced asthma counseling capacity in these communities.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify evidence-based strategies used to individualize training for chronic disease counselors and case managers in order to meet the evolving demands of high-need, high-risk patient populations.

Keyword(s): Training, Case Management

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in asthma case management and have also trained counselors for over 20 years. I have developed training curriculums that have not only impacted patient outcomes but have also led to counselors becoming board certified asthma educators (AE-C).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.