Many older adults have difficulty controlling their asthma, especially when managing more than one medical condition. But management tailored to individual needs may significantly improve self-care and outcomes, according to an investigation published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The randomized clinical trial used an asthma self-management program called Supporting Asthma Self-Management Behaviors in Aging Adults, or SAMBA. Participants included 391 adults aged 60 and older with persistent, uncontrolled asthma. In either a primary care setting or in the home, they received education about their condition and instructions on inhaler and medication use.

Results showed better medicine adherence and correct use of a metered dose inhaler at six months and one year. Participants also showed marked improvement in asthma control and higher quality of life at six months, though not at one year. Asthma-related visits to the Emergency Department were half that of a control group. The setting, whether home or physician’s office, had no impact on the results.

“Older adults with asthma can benefit from tailoring self-management support to the range of psychosocial, health, function, and cognitive barriers they have to asthma control,” wrote lead author Alex Federman, M.D., MPH.