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Specialist nurses as good as doctors in managing rheumatoid arthritis patients
Date:8/28/2013

Patients attending clinical nurse specialist clinics do not get inferior treatment to that offered by consultant rheumatologists, the results of a major new clinical trial have revealed.

The results of the multi-centre trial at the University of Leeds, funded by Arthritis Research UK, showed that there may be some clinical benefit to people with rheumatoid arthritis, whose condition is managed in clinics run by rheumatology clinical nurse specialists, especially with respect to their disease activity, pain control, physical function and general satisfaction with their care.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease, which if untreated may lead to severe disability or death. However, the management of the disease has changed significantly over the past ten years due to better understanding of the disease process, an emphasis on early diagnosis, intensive treatment and the use of more efficacious drug therapies.

The nation-wide trial was led by Dr Mwidimi Ndosi, of the University's Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine, and former University academic Dr Jackie Hill. It compared the outcomes of 180 people with rheumatoid arthritis in 10 out-patient clinics around the UK, half run by clinical nurse specialists, and the other by rheumatologists.

In both groups the nurse or doctor took a patient history, carried out a physical examination, discussed pain control, change of drugs or dose (including steroid injections) and offered patient education and psychosocial support. The nurse-led clinics' appointment times were on average longer than the consultants' (20 vs 15 minutes).

The results of the study, published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, found that although the nurses made fewer changes to a patient's medication and ordered fewer x-rays and steroid injections, their patients saw greater improvement in disease activity than those under rheumatologists' care. Nurses also p
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Contact: Ben Jones
B.P.Jones@leeds.ac.uk
44-113-343-8059
University of Leeds
Source:Eurekalert

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