The Inhaler Technique

Patients with respiratory disease (breathing problems) such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often require medication in the form of inhalers.  Basically they need to inhale, hence the term inhalers, the medication via their mouth into their lungs.

This station therefore tests several examination skills, firstly your knowledge of the underlying condition that they require the medication for, how to use an inhaler and your ability to communicate both of these areas to the patient.

There are several types of inhalers available e.g. aerosol inhalation or breath activated, you should be familiar with how to use each of these.  In this station we will demonstrate the use of aerosol inhalers.

Subject steps

  1. Introduce yourself to the patient and clarify their identity.

    Initially it is worth checking the patient’s understanding of their condition. If they do not understand fully, explain what is happening and why they find breathing more difficult when they have an exacerbation.

  2. After you have demonstrated the technique, ask the patient to show you how they would do it. Check that they are doing it correctly and correct any mistakes they are making.

  3. End the consultation by asking the patient if they have any questions or concerns about the process.