Asthma Course
Combined Online + Workshop Online-Only Coming Soon!

CSRT

CSRT

45 CEUs

CCCEP

CCCEP

17.5 CEUs

Online Only Accredidation Pending

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As with other chronic diseases, good health outcomes in asthma depend on adherence to evidence-based management guidelines. Knowledge translation of these guidelines is a critical component to the implementation of the guidelines by health care providers. RESPTREC® is recognized as a valuable knowledge translation resource of respiratory guidelines for health care professionals working in the area of asthma.

An accurate disease diagnosis, optimal medical management, engaging individuals and their families in self-management skills and regular medical follow-up are all critical components to relieving the effects and the burden of this chronic disease. The RESPTREC® Asthma Course curriculum includes a comprehensive review of all areas of asthma care.

Note: Participants are required to complete the Education, Asthma and COPD courses in order to be eligible to write the Certified Respiratory Educator (CRE) examination.

Curriculum includes:

  • Introduction to Asthma (including):
    • The definition of asthma
    • Pathology, pathogenesis, and pathophysiology of asthma
    • Epidemiology of asthma
    • Risk factors for the development of asthma
    • Asthma triggers
    • Comorbidities
  • Asthma Diagnosis and Evaluation
  • Asthma Management (including):
    • Asthma control
    • Education and environmental control
    • Pharmacotherapy (including inhaled delivery devices)
    • Severe asthma
    • Special circumstances (menses, pregnancy, exercise, work-related asthma)
    • Immunotherapy and alternative therapies
    • Asthma exacerbations
    • Monitoring and follow-up

CHAPTER: Introduction to Asthma

  1. Describe asthma
    1. Explain the key features in the definition of asthma
    2. Describe the signs and symptoms of asthma
    3. Describe asthma variability of symptoms
  2. Explain the pathology, pathogenesis, and pathophysiology of asthma
    1. Describe the inflammatory airway changes asthma
    2. Describe the airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma
  3. Examine the epidemiology of asthma
    1. Identify the prevalence of asthma in Canada across the lifespan
    2. Describe the morbidity and mortality of asthma in Canada
    3. Explain the burden of asthma in terms of:
      1. Economic
      2. Social (impact on quality of life)
  4. Describe the risk factors for the development of asthma
    1. Explain the risk factors in the development of asthma for each of the following life stages:
      1. Prenatal/
      2. Infancy
      3. Preschool
      4. School-age
      5. Adulthood
  5. Describe asthma triggers
    1. Define an asthma trigger
    2. Discuss the importance of recognizing asthma triggers
    3. Explain the difference between inflammatory and non-inflammatory triggers
  6. Describe the comorbidities that can often coexist with asthma
    1. Describe the following comorbidities that can often coexist with asthma:
      1. Rhinitis
      2. Sinusitis
      3. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
      4. Atopic dermatitis
      5. Food allergy
      6. Obesity

CHAPTER: Asthma Diagnosis and Evaluation

  1. Explain the factors to consider when making a diagnosis of asthma in preschool children, children, and adults
    1. Discuss the key considerations in the diagnosis of asthma including:
      1. Patient history
      2. Physical Examination
      3. Spirometry
  2. Conduct a comprehensive patient history
    1. Explain the components of a comprehensive initial patient history
    2. Demonstrate how to take a comprehensive initial patient history
    3. Interpret the pertinent and relevant data from a comprehensive patient history
    4. Establish educational needs (knowledge, skills, and behaviors) of the patient and his/her family
  3. Discuss the role of a physical examination in the diagnosis of asthma
    1. Explain the role of physical examination in the diagnosis of asthma
  4. Explain how a diagnosis of asthma is made in preschool children
    1. Describe how a diagnosis of asthma is made in preschool children including:
      1. The Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) criteria for the diagnosis of asthma in preschool children
      2. The importance of an early diagnosis
  5. Explain how a diagnosis of asthma is made in children 6 years of age and older and adults
    1. Explain the role of spirometry in the diagnosis of asthma in children 6 years of age and older and adults
    2. Describe spirometry including:
      1. what it is and what is measured
      2. the criteria used for the diagnosis of asthma in children 6 years of age and older and adults
      3. the importance of quality control when conducting spirometry
    3. Explain the role of Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) in the diagnosis of asthma in adults
    4. Describe PEF including:
      1. what it is and what is measured
      2. how to monitor PEF
      3. how to use a peak flow meter
      4. the criteria used for the diagnosis of asthma in adults
    5. Explain the role of positive challenge test in the diagnosis of asthma in children 6 years of age and older and adults
    6. Describe the positive challenge test including:
      1. methods of testing
      2. the criteria used for the diagnosis of asthma in children 6 years of age and older and adults
  6. Discuss alternative causes of symptoms suggestive of asthma in adults
    1. Describe alternative causes of symptoms suggestive of asthma in adults
    2. Differentiate between the clinical characteristics of asthma and COPD
  7. Describe ancillary (additional) tests that may be used as an adjunct to the diagnosis of asthma
    1. Explain the role of the following ancillary tests in the diagnosis of asthma in children and adults:
      1. chest radiography
      2. skin testing

CHAPTER: Asthma Management

  1. Discuss asthma control
    1. Explain asthma control as it relates to the goals of asthma management
    2. Explain the parameters for asthma control
    3. Explain the asthma control criteria
    4. Describe what is meant by loss of asthma control
    5. Describe causes for loss of asthma control
  2. Explain the role of self-management (patient monitoring) in asthma control
    1. Describe the goal of self-management (patient monitoring)
      1. Asthma diary
      2. Peak flow meter
    2. Demonstrate how to correctly teach a patient the role and use of an asthma diary
  3. Discuss asthma severity
    1. Explain asthma severity in terms of the intensity of treatment required to achieve asthma control
  4. Explain the principle strategies used to manage asthma
    1. Discuss principle strategies used to manage asthma (education, environmental control, pharmacotherapy)
  5. Discuss the components of asthma education
    1. Explain the components to include in a comprehensive asthma education program
  6. Explain the role of environmental control in asthma management
    1. Discuss the role of environmental control as it relates to the management of asthma including:
      1. the impact of environmental control for long-term asthma management
      2. exposure to tobacco smoke
  7. Discuss pharmacotherapy treatments for asthma
    1. Explain the goal of pharmacotherapy in the management of asthma
    2. Describe pharmacotherapy options for asthma management including:
      1. Types and functions of asthma medications
      2. The medications available in Canada
      3. Generic and brand names
      4. Devices and dosing
      5. The side effects of asthma medications
    3. Explain the recommendations for therapy for each of the following classes of medications:
      1. Inhaled medications:
        1. Short-acting beta2-agonists (SABAs)
        2. Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS)
        3. Combination inhaled corticosteroids/long-acting beta2-agonists (ICS/LABA)
        4. Long-acting beta2-agonists (LABAs)
        5. Long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs)
      2. Leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRAs)
      3. Oral corticosteroids
      4. Biologic therapy agents:
        1. anti-IgE
        2. anti-IL5
    4. Explain the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) pharmacotherapy recommendations for the treatment of asthma in preschool children
    5. Explain the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) pharmacotherapy recommendations for the treatment of asthma in children 6 years of age and older, and adults
    6. Discuss the recommended and suggested vaccinations for eligible patients with asthma
  8. Discuss inhaled medication delivery devices used in asthma
    1. Explain the impact of proper an improper inhaled delivery device technique
    2. Explain the selection considerations when recommending an inhaled delivery device
    3. Demonstrate proper technique and care for the following inhaled delivery devices:
      1. Diskus®
      2. Ellipta®
      3. Metered-dose inhaler (MDI)
      4. Metered-dose inhaler with spacer (mouthpiece and mask)
      5. Respimat®
      6. Turbuhaler®
      7. Twisthaler®
      8. Nebulizer
    4. Explain the direct instruction model (DIM) for skill-based teaching
    5. Access appropriate resources for asthma medications and inhaled delivery devices for healthcare professionals and patients
  9. Describe severe asthma
    1. Define severe asthma
    2. Distinguish between uncontrolled asthma versus severe asthma
    3. Discuss the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) recommendations for the management of severe asthma
  10. Discuss asthma management considerations in special circumstances
    1. Discuss the effect of the menstrual cycle on asthma including management considerations
    2. Explain the effect of pregnancy on asthma and asthma on pregnancy including
    3. Define exercise-induced bronchoconstriction
    4. Explain how exercise-induced bronchoconstriction can be managed
    5. Define work-related asthma (WRA)
    6. Explain how WRA is diagnosed
    7. Explain how WRA can be managed
  11. Examine the role of immunotherapy and alternative therapies in the management of asthma
    1. Discuss immunotherapy and explain its role in asthma management
    2. Discuss alternative therapies in asthma management including the current evidence for the role of alternative therapies in asthma management
  12. Discuss acute exacerbations of asthma
    1. Define asthma worsening
    2. Define acute exacerbation of asthma
    3. Explain the role of an asthma action plan
    4. Counsel a patient on the use of an asthma action plan including:
      1. What it is
      2. The components
      3. The components
    5. Define severe exacerbation of asthma
    6. Explain the management for a severe exacerbation of asthma
    7. Explain the pediatric respiratory assessment measure (PRAM) for asthma exacerbation severity
    8. Explain the components of a discharge plan following hospitalization due to an asthma exacerbation
    9. Define anaphylaxis and describe the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis
    10. Explain the indications for use of epinephrine in the treatment of anaphylaxis
  13. Discuss the importance of monitoring and follow-up in the management of asthma
    1. Explain asthma monitoring and follow-up
    2. Explain the goal of asthma monitoring and follow-up
    3. Describe areas to assess during a follow-up visit
    4. Demonstrate how to conduct an effective follow-up visit
    5. Identify the circumstances that warrant a referral to the following:
      1. Respirologist:
        1. pediatric asthma specialist
        2. adult asthma specialist
      2. Certified asthma/respiratory educator (CAE/CRE)
      3. Other healthcare professionals

Registrants must meet the following entrance criteria:

  • hold a degree/diploma in a recognized health care profession
  • scope of practice to include counselling clients
  • must verify current license to practice (and registration number, if applicable)
  • indicate your expectations of the course and how you anticipate using the new skills and knowledge

If there is a question regarding met criteria, acceptance to the program will be made on an individual basis and at the discretion of the RESPTREC® Management committee.

The original content for the RESPTREC® Asthma Course was developed in 1999 and has been continually updated to reflect the most recent evidence for optimal asthma care.

A wide range of representatives from health disciplines and endorsing agencies were involved in curriculum development including: the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS - COPD Clinical Assembly and authors of guidelines and publications), Canadian Respiratory Health Professionals (CRHP), Family Physician's Airways Group of Canada (FPAGC), The Lung Association, clinicians, researchers, certified respiratory educators, pharmacy, respiratory therapy, nursing and physical therapy.

Asthma Course Expert Committee

  • Allan Becker MD FRCPC
  • Bernie Bolley BScN RN CRE (CRHP)
  • Don Cockcroft MD FRCP(C) (CTS)
  • Cathy Gillespie RN MN CAE
  • Brian Graham PhD
  • Jan Neumann BPT CRE
  • Alan Kaplan MD CCFP(EM) (Chair FPAGC)
  • Diane Lougheed MD MSc FRCP(C) (CTS Past Chair Asthma Committee)
  • Dilshad Moosa BSc RRT CRE
  • Kristine Petrasko BScPharm CRE
  • Donna Rennie PhD (Epidemiology) RN CAE (CRHP)
  • Judy Riedel RN CRE (CRHP)
  • Sheldon Spier MD FRCP(C) (CTS Pediatric Asthma Assembly)

We would like to acknowledge the work of:

  • Lori Kleiboer (Professional Education Associate)
  • Janet Sutherland (Executive Director, Canadian Thoracic Society)

The hours invested in completing this course can be included in your continuing professional education learning portfolio.

Accredited Study Credits

The Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists

Title: Asthma Management Course
Number of CEUs: 45
Date Accredited: 2018-06-15
Accreditation Expiry Date: 2023-06-15


The Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy

CCCEP Number: 1091-2015-1573-B-P
Title: Asthma Management Course
Number of CEUs: 17.5
Date Accredited: 2015-09-10
Accreditation Expiry Date: 2018-09-10


RESPTREC® is in the process of pursing CCCEP accreditation for the only-only version of the Asthma course. Upon approval, pharmacists who have successfully completed the only-only Asthma course will be issued their notice of earned CEUs.


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