When specially prepared nurses manage outpatient care of children with mild to moderate asthma, the results are as good as when care is directed by pediatricians, according to a Dutch study.
For 1 year, 74 children (ages 2 to 16 years) with poorly controlled asthma were randomly assigned to care delivered exclusively by either a nurse with expertise in asthma management or a pediatrician. At the end of the 1-year study period, children in both groups had improved considerably, based on such measures as percentage of symptom-free days, airway hyperresponsiveness, lung function, daily dose of inhaled corticosteroids, functional health status, and quality of life. Researchers found no significant differences in the amount of improvement between the two groups, and all parents were satisfied with the care their children received.
The researchers conclude that nurses with special knowledge about asthma are well qualified to care for children with mild to moderate asthma.
"Outpatient Management of Childhood Asthma by Paediatrician or Asthma Nurse: Randomised Controlled Study with One Year Follow Up," Thorax, A. Kamps, et al., November 2003.