Role of rheumatology clinical nurse specialists in optimizing management of hand osteoarthritis during daily practice in secondary care: an observational study
Wing-Yee Kwok, Margreet Kloppenburg, Liesbeth JJ Beaart-van de Voorde, Tom WJ Huizinga, Thea PM Vliet Vlieland
Department of Rheumatology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
Background: The purpose of this study was to describe the effectiveness of a single one-hour consultation by a clinical nurse specialist in patients with hand osteoarthritis during daily rheumatology practice in secondary care.
Methods: Consecutive patients diagnosed by rheumatologists to have primary hand osteoarthritis and referred to the clinical nurse specialist were eligible for entry into this study. The standardized 1-hour consultation consisted of assessments and education on hand osteoarthritis by a clinical nurse specialist. Before and 3 months after the consultation, assessments were done to evaluate treatment (use of assistive devices, acetaminophen), health-related quality of life (physical component summary [PCS] score of Short-Form 36), and hand pain/function (Australian/Canadian Osteoarthritis Hand Index [AUSCAN]). Paired t-tests and McNemar tests were used to analyze differences between baseline and follow-up. Satisfaction was measured after consultation at follow-up using a multidimensional questionnaire comprising 13 items (rated on a four-point scale).
Results: A total of 439 patients were referred, with follow-up data available for 195 patients, comprising 177 (87%) females, and of mean age 59 ± 9.0 years. After consultation, the proportions of patients using assistive devices and/or acetaminophen increased significantly from 30% to 39% and from 35% to 49%, respectively. PCS improved significantly (P = 0.03) whereas AUSCAN hand pain/function showed no significant differences compared with baseline (P values 0.52 and 0.92, respectively). The proportions of patients reporting to be satisfied or fully satisfied ranged from 78% to 99% per item.
Conclusion: A single, comprehensive, standardized assessment and education by a clinical nurse specialist improved the physical dimension of health-related quality of life in hand osteoarthritis. Most patients were satisfied with the consultation. Further controlled trials are needed to determine the added value of the clinical nurse specialist in care for hand osteoarthritis.
Keywords: hand osteoarthritis, nursing, quality of life, satisfaction