An asthma coach is a healthcare professional who helps asthma patients manage their disease more effectively. Asthmas coaches are certified asthma educators (AE-C) who meet with their patients online via a video call, or in person at a medical office.
Who can benefit from asthma coaching?
If you or a family member has asthma, working with an asthma educator, who can explain “what is asthma” and its management strategies, can be highly beneficial. This includes people who have recently been diagnosed with asthma, those who have been managing their asthma for years, and people who have had difficulty controlling their asthma symptoms.
What does an asthma educator do?
Asthma educators provide education, guidance and support to people with asthma. They work with their clients to understand their condition and make lifestyle changes to help manage their asthma. They can supplement the usual care provided by doctors.
Eduction is key for asthma patients. An asthma educator can help answer these questions:
- What do asthma medications do for my lungs?
- How to identify an asthma attack?
- What is an asthma trigger?
- Can regular exercise help my asthma?
- What is exercise-induced asthma?
- What can I do to improve my asthma control?
- How do I use my inhalers correctly?
- Is my treatment working the way it should?
- What interventions can I do to help my asthma management?
- How can you track your symptoms?
Asthma educators can also provide publications and digital resources to help patients control their asthma and reduce the risk of an asthma attack.
Find a certified asthma educator in your area at the Association of Asthma Eductaors (AAE) website.
Learn how to become a certified asthma educator at the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC).
Benefits of working with an asthma educator?
Working with a certified asthma educator can have several benefits, including:
- Improved ability to recognize and manage asthma symptoms
- Better understanding of asthma triggers
- Better understanding of asthma medications
- Improved inhaler technique
- Better understanding of asthma control
- Improved medication adherence
- Increased confidence in controlling asthma
- Reduced asthma attacks
- Better quality of life
- Improved relationship between healthcare provider and patient
How to find an asthma educator
Allergy and Asthma Network offers FREE Asthma Coaching for those who qualify.
Other ways to find an asthma coach include:
- Ask your primary care provider or asthma specialist for a referral.
- Search online for asthma coaches in your area.
- Check with local hospitals or healthcare organizations for asthma coaching programs.
- Ask for recommendations from friends or family members who have worked with a coach in the past.
Tips for making the most of your asthma coaching sessions
To make the most of your asthma coaching sessions, consider the following tips:
- Be open and honest with your coach about your symptoms, challenges, and concerns.
- Have a list of your current prescribed asthma medications.
- Take notes during your sessions to help you remember important information.
- Ask questions and seek clarification when needed.
- Follow through with any action items discussed during the session.
- Stay engaged and committed to managing your asthma.
Has asthma coaching improved patient outcome measures?
Studies show that adding tools such as patient coaching can support better health outcomes. It can improve the patient’s experience with the healthcare system. And it is also an effective way for people to overcome time constraints and costs for doctor appointments.
Asthma coaching is a valuable resource for people with asthma who want to better manage their disease and improve quality of life.
Let’s breathe better together!
Find out if you qualify for asthma coaching: Allergy & Asthma Network’s Asthma Coaching Program
Leandra Tonweber PA-C, AE-C, is a board certified physician assistant and certified asthma educator. She earned her physician assistant degree in 2002 from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has spent a number of years in clinical practice in allergy, asthma and immunology and is currently on staff at the Allergy & Asthma Network as their lead asthma coach.