Asthma Management Handbook

Aims and scope


The Australian Asthma Handbook aims to improve health outcomes and quality of life for people with asthma by providing clear guidance for the health professionals involved in their care. It gives evidence-based, practical guidance to primary care health professionals on the most effective strategies in the diagnosis and management of asthma in adults and children.

The Handbook informs clinical decisions using a patient-centred approach and establishes a benchmark for the standard of care for people with asthma.


The Australian Asthma Handbook includes all aspects of the diagnosis and management of asthma within a primary care chronic disease management framework, with a particular emphasis on practicality and accessibility.

While specific advice is provided on identifying high risk and difficult-to-treat asthma, including referral criteria, advice on the management of asthma in specialist settings is outside the scope of the Handbook.

Guidance is provided on the management of asthma and comorbid conditions with an emphasis on differential diagnosis, interaction or overlap with asthma, and specific asthma management considerations. Users are directed to the current national treatment guidelines for the comorbid condition where possible.

Recognising the limited access to high-level acute care services for immediate treatment of patients with acute asthma, particularly in rural and remote areas, the Handbook also includes guidance on acute asthma management applicable to a range of clinical settings.

Target populations

The Handbook’s target population is all people with asthma or suspected asthma, regardless of age. Special considerations are included for certain populations, such as:

  • adolescents
  • pregnant women
  • older adults
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Advice is also provided on managing wheezing in young children where the diagnosis of asthma is uncertain.

Intended users

The Handbook has been developed for use by Australian:

  • general practitioners
  • community pharmacists
  • asthma and respiratory educators
  • primary healthcare/practice nurses
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners.

The Handbook is also intended as a practical reference for other related health professionals who may treat people with asthma occasionally. These include health professionals working in acute care settings, specialists from non-respiratory disciplines, and clinicians with an interest in comorbid conditions.

Healthcare administrators, and healthcare students, are also encouraged to use the Handbook as their guide to current best-practice asthma care in Australia.