Developing pictorial asthma action plans to promote self-management and health in rural youth with asthma: A qualitative study

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Journal of Asthma

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Objective: Asthma action plans (AAPs) provide asthma management instructions to families; however, AAPs typically are written at a 7th–9th grade reading level, making them less useful in lower literacy families. There is a need to develop simpler AAP formats and content to optimize their utility across all families, including those who are rural and may be at a risk for literacy concerns. Because using pictures can simplify and enhance health education, our study's aim was to develop a pictorial AAP through a series of focus groups with key stakeholders – youth with asthma, caregivers, and physicians. Methods: Fourteen caregiver/youth dyads and four physicians participated in separate focus groups where their preferences for pictorial AAP structure and content were obtained. Focus groups were audio recorded, transcribed, coded with ATLAS.ti, and analyzed for themes. Results: Youth and their caregivers prefer that the AAPs include simple, cartoon-like pictures customized to the patient. Physicians emphasized AAP's capability to display pictures of controller medication given its importance in preventing asthma exacerbations. A stoplight format, currently used in most written AAPs, received positive reviews. Specific suggestions for pictures showing symptoms, medications, and how to take medication were suggested. Words and short phrases accompanying the pictures were thought to add clarity. Conclusions: Key stakeholders viewed pictorial AAPs as positive and potentially effective alternatives to standard written AAPs. It is expected that low literacy youth and caregivers would more easily understand a pictorial AAP presentation, which should facilitate better medication adherence and asthma outcomes in these children. © 2017 Taylor & Francis



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