Kloesel Grant Helps Asthma Patients Stay Healthy

Dr. Barner and studentA study that focuses on the role of pharmacists in helping asthma patients stay healthy is the inaugural program supported by a new initiative of the College of Pharmacy.

Dr. Jamie C. Barner, professor of health outcomes and pharmacy practice, and Tatiana Makhinova, a Ph.D. graduate student studying with Barner, are recipients of the first grant award from the Arlyn Kloesel Endowment for Innovative Pharmacy Practice and Business Models. The $25,000 grant supports Makhinova’s dissertation study, “The Role of Community Pharmacists in Patient-Tailored Adherence Intervention for Patients with Asthma: Pilot Study.”

Makhinova presented her research at the recent meeting of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) where she was presented the Best Podium Presentation.

More than 16.5 million adults have asthma, a chronic condition that often is treated with both a maintenance medication and a rescue treatment for occasional flair ups. In their previously published study, Barner and Makhinova estimated that Medicaid patients with persistent asthma took their maintenance medications as prescribed only 30-40 percent of the time, putting them at risk for flair ups and other complications, some of which may lead to hospitalizations and more intense, costly treatments.

“Asthma is a high cost disease state,” explained Makhinova. “Patients with poor adherence are at risk of complications that can be very costly.”

Makhinova and Barner designed a set of tools to aid pharmacists in counseling asthma patients on the proper use of their medications. The first tool is a short questionnaire that identifies patients’ adherence barriers. Pharmacists note patient responses that fall into a “red zone” which indicate that the patient may not be gaining full benefit from their medications. Pharmacists then guide the asthma patient through patient-focused strategies to overcome barriers.

Barner explained that asthma differs from many chronic diseases because patients must not only remember to take the medication routinely, they must also have mastery of the device used to administer the medication.

“If the patient does not understand how to use an inhaler, the medicine does not reach the lungs properly and cannot do its work in keeping the patient healthy,” she explained.

Other tools supported by the grant include brochures and a website designed to help the patient remember how to use both maintenance and rescue medications and other tools to help them better manage their asthma.

Arlyn Kloesel photoThe Kloesel Endowment was established with many gifts honoring, long time faculty member, Arlyn Kloesel. For more than 30 years, Kloesel served as a member of the college faculty. He taught a first year class that included the Care and Respect for the Elderly Program. The program was often the first time for entering students to work directly with patients.

The Kloesel Endowment will give vital funding for initiatives that continue the care and dedication that Arlyn taught. If you would like to help us grow this endowment you may do so at the Kloesel Endowment giving site.

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