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Emergency Department Asthma Care Pathway

Looking for a standardized approach to delivering evidence-based asthma care in your Emergency Department? Consider implementing the Lung Association – Ontario’s Emergency Department Asthma Care Pathway (EDACP).

The EDACP is based on the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) asthma guidelines and other relevant clinical guidelines and literature. It is designed to promote: appropriate assessment of the severity of the exacerbation; evidence-based asthma treatment; patient education prior to discharge; comprehensive discharge instructions; and, arrangements for follow-up care.

Adult EDACP: for 16 years and older with a history of asthma, chronic obstruction pulmonary disease (COPD) with asthma or a previous episode of wheezing requiring treatment.

Paediatric EDACP: for children ages 1-17 years with a history of asthma or previous episode of wheezing requiring treatment.


What is the Emergency Department Asthma Care Pathway (EDACP)?
  • A standardized approach used to deliver evidence-based asthma care in your emergency department
  • Based on the Canadian Thoracic Society Asthma Guidelines and other relevant clinical guidelines and literature
  • Promotes appropriate assessment of the severity of an asthma exacerbation and severity-based treatment
  • Endorsed by leading health professionals organizations
What does EDACP include?
  • Instructions
  • Medication Guidelines
  • Medical Directive (Optional)
  • Pre-printed order set for each severity level
  • Patient Discharge Instructions
  • Patient Education Checklist
  • What are the different EDACP’s?
Adult EDACP

For adults / adolescents 16 years of age and older with a history of asthma, chronic obstruction pulmonary disease (COPD) with asthma, or a previous episode of wheezing requiring treatment.

Pediatric EDACP

For children 1 – 17 years of age with a history of asthma or previous episode of wheezing requiring treatment.

E-Learning Module

To access the pathway tools and resources click on the following links:

Pediatric EDACP                       Adult EDACP

To order pocket reference guides or to access tools in Word format, please email edacp@lungontario.ca

Online e-learning modules are available for both the adult and pediatric pathways. To access the modules please visit ola.machealth.ca.

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Who has endorsed the EDACP?

The adult asthma care pathway was developed with input from, and has been endorsed by:

  • Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP)
  • Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP) – Ontario Branch
  • Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS)
  • Emergency Nurses’ Association of Ontario (ENAO)
  • Family Physicians Airways Group of Canada (FPAGC)
  • Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP)
  • Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA)
  • Ontario Respiratory Care Society (ORCS)
  • Ontario Thoracic Society (OTS)
  • Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)
  • Respiratory Therapy Society of Ontario (RTSO)
Who can use EDACP?

This Clinical Pathway is intended for use in emergency departments and hospital-based urgent care centres. Permission to use the EDACP by non-profit health services organizations is granted under the following conditions:

  • The Lung Association – Ontario EDACP is acknowledged as the source of information
  • Disclaimer statement must be included with EDACP instructions, either in printed form or displayed whenever EDACP order sets are accessed in an electronic order entry system
  • Formatting changes are permitted as required to meet the standards set by individual facilities and organizational logos may be added
  • Revisions, deletions, or alterations in content will invalidate endorsements by stakeholder organizations
  • Specific changes to some medications in the physician’s orders may be permissible based on availability within the hospital’s formulary – please contact The Lung Association – Ontario
  • Colleges and universities offering programs for medicine, nursing, pharmacy, respiratory therapy and other allied health professions may incorporate the EDACP into the educational curriculum provided the source is acknowledged and no changes are made to any of the EDACP tools.

Under all other circumstances, The Lung Association Ontario must be contacted for permission:
401-18 Wynford Drive
Toronto, ON M3C 0K8
Phone: 416-864-9911 or Toll-free (888) 344-5864 extension 293
Email: edacp@lungontario.ca

Disclaimer: This Clinical Pathway is not intended to set the standard of care applicable in any particular clinical situation. It is merely prepared as a guide to assist physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other healthcare providers, in deciding on the appropriate care required for a particular patient. At all times, physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other healthcare providers must exercise their independent clinical judgment, based on their knowledge, training and experience, taking into account the specific facts and circumstances of each patient, when deciding on the appropriate course of investigation and/or treatment to recommend in a particular clinical situation. Any reference throughout the document to specific pharmaceutical products as examples does not imply endorsement of any of these products.