BMC Health Serv Res. 2022 Dec 31;22(1):1602. doi: 10.1186/s12913-022-08985-1.
BACKGROUND: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), consisting of Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), is a chronic disorder with a considerable negative impact on health-related quality of life (HRQoL). During the past decade, IBD nurse specialists have been increasingly involved in follow-up care of IBD outpatients, in a consultative and coordinating role, closely cooperating with gastroenterologists. Whether patients’ HRQoL differs between nurses’ follow-up care (NF) and conventional follow-up care (CF) has not been widely researched and the aim of this study was to compare two different follow-up regimes with respect to patients’ HRQoL.
METHODS: This cross-sectional, multicenter study involved seven centers; five organized as CF, two as NF.
RESULTS: A total of 304 patients aged 18-80 years, 174 females and 130 males, were included, of whom 140 received care under the NF model and 164 under the CF model. Participants in the NF group had a statistically significant higher median total score on the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (IBDQ) (p-value < .001). This pattern could also be seen in the sub-scores of the different IBDQ domains. Despite a trend of higher IBDQ score in all domains in the NF model, the overall result in our study did not reach the limit of 16 points, defined as clinically significant. A higher proportion of NF patients had IBDQ scores defined as remission, as well as a statistically significant higher frequency of outpatient check-ups during a two-year follow-up period.
CONCLUSIONS: Nurse-led models are not inferior to conventional models with regards to patient reported HRQoL except in the social domain where the model showed to be clinically significant better. Further studies are needed to advance efforts to implement these models and increase access to IBD care.