Respiratory medication use and asthma management practices in an Australian developmental disability clinic population: messages for health care professionals.

Australian data suggest up to 15% of people with intellectual disability (ID) have asthma. The inhaled route of administration is optimal for the management of obstructive airways diseases; however, correct inhaler use requires dexterity and particular breathing patterns and potentially represents a problem in this population due to physical and cognitive deficits. Understanding the nature and extent of inhaler use in persons with ID is important, as correct inhaler technique is imperative for optimal clinical outcomes; however, currently no evidence base exists to inform health professionals. This study describes respiratory medication use, reported prevalence of asthma, and asthma management practices undertaken in a community sample of Australian adults with ID. Results showed a prevalence of retrospectively reported asthma of 6%, with 86% of asthma patients prescribed inhaled medication. A review of patient records also indicated omission of some recommended asthma management strategies.