Millions of elderly asthma patients lack basic care in UK

 UK Asthma patients not getting the care they need, a charity says.

elderly-asthmaIn the UK alone, 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for asthma, many of the elderly asthma patients may be at greater risk due to their vulnerability.

More than 4,500 asthma patients were questioned by Asthma UK, results showed that two-thirds of sufferers miss out on yearly check-ups, tailored advice and lessons in how to use asthma inhalers. Although this is a slight improvement from a year ago it is still a concern. 1,468 people died from an asthma attack in 2015 in the UK, – the highest level in a decade.

Asthma UK says this is not good enough. According to the charity, two in every three asthma deaths could be prevented with good basic care.

The symptoms for elderly asthma patients are generally the same as for younger people, though older people sometimes experience a more serious form of asthma. Even if patients have the same or similar symptoms for years, asthma may change over time as one get older.

The latest annual asthma care survey suggests; 8 in every 10 people with asthma do not have their condition under control, symptoms can quickly get out of hand for elderly asthma sufferers. Almost half of the patients questioned have said their asthma symptoms got in the way of day-to-day life; the most basic care package was only received by a few patients.

NHS England says every asthma patient should be supported to manage their condition and offered regular reviews.

An NHS England spokeswoman said: “Whilst we recognise the important issues in this annual survey, we also expect patients to take shared responsibility for managing aspects of this long term condition. It is important that patients consult with their GP where necessary and know how to use their medication properly. In future, digital solutions may improve dialogue with health professionals and ensure the widespread development of personal asthma action plans to help avoid unnecessary and costly hospital visits for treatment.”

Asthma UK say although medical staff could do more, they reinforce NHS England comments that asthma sufferers must take responsibility for their own care too.

Dr Penny Woods, the chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: “The findings of Asthma UK’s survey are typical of all lung diseases. “Patients aren’t receiving the care they need to help them manage their condition and there are still wide variations in care across the UK. “Due to a lack of prioritisation in health policy, we now have the fourth highest mortality rates from lung disease in Europe.”

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