Prof. Job van der Palen

Clinical Epidemiologist, Medisch Spectrum, Universiteit van Twente

A PhD study started in 1993 on self-management of patients with asthma is the reason Job van der Palen is committed to the ITW Foundation. “It soon became clear that self-management was not a good option if the basis was not correct. When medication is not properly inhaled, or when patients do not have the correct inhaler for the severity of their disease, it is simply counter-productive. The ITW Foundation tries to better tailor the knowledge on inhaler choice and medication to the patient by carefully studying what would be a good match. When the choice is made, it is important to ensure that the instructions are given in the correct manner. This takes time.”

Van der Palen observed the attention for inhalation technique fluctuate greatly since the 90s. “The ITW Foundation ITW is committed to drawing more attention to this subject and maintaining this.” Scientific studies on the improvement of inhalation technique have shown that several forms of instruction are possible, and that group instructions are particularly effective. “People watch each other during a group instruction. The instructor lets the patient use the inhaler, and others see this. They discuss what went well and what went wrong and learn from each other. Healthcare professionals often find it difficult to organise this. The ITW Foundation also offers a framework for this.”