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Foundation and Prevention of

Asthma Exacerbations
HESC 3310

Brad King, RRT

Foundation and Prevention of Asthma Exacerbations

LESSON DESCRIPTION: This lesson is designed to provide health care professionals

a foundational understanding of asthma exacerbations. The objectives will facilitate
institutional awareness of asthma exacerbations and provide effective learning
environments for the education of their peers and patients on how to properly identify
and eliminate the source of attack. Course includes identifying and developing skills that
affect patient outcomes and patient awareness.
PURPOSE: Approximately 22.9 million Americans currently have asthma. Each year,
30.5 million prescriptions are written for asthma medication. That is $30 billion being
spent to treat one disease. The intention of this course is to provide awareness to health
care professionals about triggers that will induce asthma related symptoms. This
information is not limited to respiratory care practitioners alone. All health care
providers will benefit from this information and will be able to incorporate the material
in individual plan of care. This lesson will encourage asthma awareness and facilitate
learning by promoting asthma education. Before the healthcare provider learns to treat
asthma, one must first learn the origin of asthma exacerbations prior to practicing
treatment methods.
GOAL: To identify what triggers an asthma episode and how to avoid it or eliminate it
1. The Healthcare provider will define asthma. (cognitive knowledge)

Foundation and Prevention of Asthma Exacerbations

2. The Healthcare provider will describe the four main symptoms of an asthma
attack. (psychomotor perception)
3. The Healthcare provider will distinguish between irritants, allergens and physical
conditions that trigger an asthma attack. (cognitive analysis)
4. The Healthcare provider will give examples of triggers in the home, outdoor
triggers, food allergens, drug and chemical reactions and occupational triggers.
(cognitive comprehension)
CLASSROOM ARRANGEMENT: The classroom will be arranged for large-group
discussion. In this arrangement, the instructor will be in the front of the room and the
students will be the focal point. This grouping will encourage students to collaborate
with other students, while sharing personal experiences and actualities pertaining to
asthma. My intention is to create a positive learning atmosphere where students can
make eye contact and receive verbal and nonverbal feedback from one another and the
instructor during collaboration. These arrangements will physique interaction so
everyone can learn from the different perspectives, skills, and ideas of the participants.
TEACHING METHOD: Active learning will be the foundational process to facilitate
knowledge in this lesson. Meyers and Jones define active learning as learning
environments that allow students to talk and listen, read, write, and reflect as they
approach course content through problem-solving exercises, informal small groups,
simulations, case studies, role playing, and other activities; all of which require students
to apply what they are learning. Studies confirm that learning is enriched when
students become dynamically involved in the learning process. Instructional plans that
involve students in the learning process encourage critical thinking and a better
consideration of other perspectives. Within the lesson, the healthcare provider will be

Foundation and Prevention of Asthma Exacerbations

presented a patient case study as the smallest portion of the lesson. Case studies will be
utilized to demonstrate the four main symptoms associated with an asthma attack, and
considered the most effective way to teach thinking skills and incorporate real-world
problems under authentic conditions.
o What is Asthma? (25 minutes)

Key points for clarification

Definition of asthma.

Asthma facts.

Anatomy of the lung. [PowerPoint visualizations]

o Gas conducting system.

Identify the Trachea, carina, mainstem

bronchi, lobar bronchi, sub-segmental bronchi,

o Gas exchange system.

Identify the respiratory bronchioles, alveolar

ducts, alveolar sacs, alveoli.

o Conducting airway tissues.

Identify and describe the three tissue layers in

the wall of the airways; Mucosa, submucosa,

Foundation and Prevention of Asthma Exacerbations

Pathophysiology of an asthma attack. [PowerPoint

o State the primary airway changes that occur during an
asthma attack.

Bronchial smooth muscle constriction.

Mucosal inflammation.

Hypersecretion of mucus.

o Define and explain airway remodeling.

Types of asthma. [compare and contrast]

o Acute asthma.
o Chronic asthma.
o Status asthmaticus.
o Exercise induced asthma.
o Nocturnal asthma.

o Describe the four main symptoms of an asthma attack.

Key points for clarification-

Shortness of breath.

Chest tightness.



o Distinguish between irritants, allergens and physical conditions that

trigger an asthma attack. (15 minutes)

Foundation and Prevention of Asthma Exacerbations

Key points for clarification

Types of triggers: [Irritants and allergens.]

Triggers in the home.

Outdoor allergens

Food allergens.

Drug and chemical reactions.

o Give examples of triggers in the home, outdoor triggers, food allergens,

drug and chemical reactions. (10 minutes)

Key points for clarification

Clarify to the student that in an asthmatic patients lungs are

always somewhat inflamed. When these airways are exposed
to irritants or allergens, the airways are triggered and lung
changes associated with asthma begin.

Utilizing the PowerPoint presentation, examples from the

groups of triggers will be presented to the student.


o Case Study

At the summation of the lesson present the students with the

prepared case scenario and complete as a group discussion. The
story format will include; a 25 year old male presenting to the ED
complaining of shortness of breath that started after mowing his
lawn. As a whole the students will discuss how the asthma attack

Foundation and Prevention of Asthma Exacerbations

was identified, patient education pertaining to asthma, and finally
asthma attack prevention.

SUPPORTING THE OBJECTIVE: The lesson procedures and activities are in

parallel with the instructional objectives. The material presented to the student will
prepare the student to complete the summarization of learning case study at the end of
the course. Special accommodations to consider include both a PowerPoint slideshow
and a hard copy of the course goals, objectives, and presentation summarization. This
will accommodate the needs of multiple intelligences such as a visual learner, aural
learner or written learner.
MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY: A slide presentation will be the focus of
delivering the lesson. I believe this to be the greatest modality to enhance learning in the
arrangement I have chosen. Advantages to slide presentation include; improving
audience focus, increasing visual impact, and engaging multiple learning styles. The
PowerPoint presentation will clearly display the learning objectives, as well as organize
learning into subcategories. For example, as I describe the anatomy of the lung, a lung
graphic will be used to properly identify the gas conducting system, gas exchange system
and conducting airway tissue. Without a visual representation I believe the material
would be extremely difficult to comprehend. I also plan to use individual student lesson
handouts to allow students to follow the presentation and take additional notes as we
progress through the lesson.
ASSESSMENT PLAN: throughout the lesson, the health care provider will be asked
question pertaining to the lesson in order to facilitate learning and encourage

Foundation and Prevention of Asthma Exacerbations

comprehension of the material. The questions will not be aimed at a particular student
but will require group participation in order to answer the questions. The questions will
be labeled checkpoint questions and will follow particular sections in the lesson. This
will suggest formative and summative assessment in order to alter instruction and
provide feedback to students to help them move forward in their learning. In addition to
checkpoint questions, the students will be required to partake in a case study at the end
of the lesson. The case study will allow the students to take what they have learned
throughout the lesson and apply the content to a real life patient scenario. The case
study will describe a patient presenting to the emergency department complaining of
shortness of breath after cutting the grass. It will be up to the students to identify the
triggers that exacerbated the patients asthma and educate the patient how to avoid
further asthma attacks. This assessment plan will not only allow the students to apply
the learning outcomes to the patient case scenario, but it will also attempt to improve
patient outcomes by encouraging patient education in the clinical setting.