The British Lung Foundation (BLF) has produced two new resources for pharmacists to assist them in caring for respiratory patients.

The resources include a list of questions to ask patients with respiratory illnesses focused on their understanding of their medicines and promoting healthy lifestyles.

It is hoped that the guide could help improve inhaler technique and adherence in asthma patients. Prescribing inhaled medication in the UK costs nearly £1bn a year.

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Questions for patients with respiratory illness

Can you show me how you take your inhaler?

If you have an aerosol inhaler do you have a spacer device?

Do you understand what to do when your blue inhaler is not working as well as it usually does?

Do you have a preventer (brown/orange/red) inhaler?

Are you able to get your prescription regularly?

Do you smoke and if so have you thought about getting some help to stop?

Do you often feel breathless, which stops you from doing the things that you want to do?

Have you noticed any changes in your weight, either weight gain or loss?[/box]

The foundation has also released an introductory document to let pharmacists and their teams know about the role of the BLF and how the organisation can help them.

Over 12 million people in the UK suffer from lung disease and 550,000 new diagnoses are made each year. An estimated 1.2 million people are living with diagnosed Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and prevalence is increasing.

Quality support

‘We recognise that community pharmacy has a key role in the management of lung disease and supporting people to understand their condition,’ the BLF said.

‘We would like to work with you to provide quality support for your patients.’

Pharmacists with a special interest in respiratory care can become a BLF Professional, with access to regional study days, networking and opportunities to shadow other services.