Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research

Asthma in the Older Generation study – poster win

A poster based on work from the Centre on asthma in the older generation has won best poster presentation at the 14th National ATRIUM Conference

A poster presentation based on work from the Centre on older adults in the UK with asthma won the best poster presentation at the recent 14th National ATRIUM Conference.

The study behind the poster aimed to explore the perceptions of older adults in the UK with asthma on how they manage their asthma and the impact it has on their life.

The study

Older adults are the fastest-growing population in the UK. The burden of illness from asthma in this group is only increasing. Their experiences and needs must be understood to identify research that could improve their lives. The study was driven by patient and public involvement in the Centre, and was co-developed by then volunteer Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Patient Lead, Elisabeth Ehrlich to ensure the patient perspective was kept at the centre of the work.

The study consisted of fifteen interviews with individuals aged 60 or over with a diagnosis of asthma. Participants reported physical, psychological, and social implications due to asthma as they age. The study found that having more than one illness at the same time meant that treatments were not optimal across their issues and typically led to increased levels of daily medications.

Participants in the study described the varying quality of asthma care, where some experienced ageism and a lack of empathy when dealing with the health service. They think that there is a need for more research into asthma in older generations, to increase understanding and awareness of the condition in their age group.

View the winning poster

The conference

The poster was presented at the 14th National ATRIUM Conference held on the 12th March at the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh. The conference seeks to provide an opportunity for medical students from around the country to present their research and network with their peers and academics.

Flora Flinn, a 5th-year medical student at the University of Edinburgh was heavily involved in the study and led on the production of the poster, and winning presentation at the conference. She believes that research is crucial to understand experiences of asthma in the older generation. She said:

This study gave me a fantastic opportunity to hear first-hand from older adults about what mattered most to them and what researchers and clinicians can do to help. As a medical student, I found the interviews really thought-provoking and I feel strongly that this is an area of medicine in need of further attention

Flora Flinn5th year medical student at the University of Edinburgh who led on the production of the poster

Elisabeth Ehrlich, who has recently stepped down as volunteer PPI Patient Lead at the Centre, was key to getting this study started and through to completion. She said:

I was thrilled that Flora won the best poster prize at the ATRIUM Conference. This study was the first Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research study wholly on the Older Asthmatic. It showed that this is a neglected group in research and that there is a huge need for further studies of this age group. Working on this project demonstrated the ethos of the Centre in bringing together research and education. It was a pleasure to see how Patient and Public Involvement members , students and researchers could work together to bring a project to fruition. Flora richly deserves all the plaudits her work received and I wish her well in her future career.

More about this study

Read more about the Exploring the experiences of older adults living with asthma project