Inhaler technique in Turkish people with poor English: a case of information discrimination?
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(a) To compare metered dose inhaler (MDI) technique in users with poor English and fluent English, (b) to evaluate two interventions: a translated patient information leaflet (PIL) plus support from an translator (PIL + verbal) and a multimedia touch screen system (MTS) using video clips and own-language instruction.
(a) Inhaler technique was videotaped and key steps rated blind for 105 fluent English-speakers (FE) and 69 Turkish-speakers with poor English (EP). (b) The EP group was randomised to receive information by MTS (n = 34) or PIL + verbal (n = 35). Inhaler technique was videotaped before and after information.
Main outcome measures
(a) Global inhaler technique; (b) breathing-in time; (c) co-ordination of inspiration and inhaler actuation.
Global technique, co-ordination and breath-holding were all significantly worse in MDI users with poor English. Only 17% of that group had adequate technique compared to over half (62%) of FE. The EP group were significantly less likely than the FE group to report ever seeing the practice nurse about their asthma. After information, global technique was rated as improved in 50% of the MTS group compared to 28% of those given a translated PIL. A further six people (17%) in the PIL group improved after subsequent verbal advice in their own language. Both information methods significantly increased inhaler shaking and mouthpiece checking, but co-ordination only improved in a small number of people.
The study suggests that Turkish-speaking MDI users with poor English may be disadvantaged in terms of access to medicines information in the UK. The acceptability of pharmacy-based support services for this, and other specific language groups should be explored. Multimedia offers an alternative to a translator for brief explanations, particularly for first-time users, but improving poor co-ordination requires individualised “hands on” teaching from health professionals.
KeywordsEnglish speakers Inhaler technique Language ability Medicines information Metered dose inhalers Patient information leaflet Turkish speakers
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The authors would like to thank everyone who took part in the study, or provided facilities and support. The study was funded by the Department of Health, and the North London Primary Care Research Network (Nocten).
Possible conflicts of interest None.
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