Efficacy of the epilepsy nurse: Results of a randomized controlled study

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Abstract

Objective:

We investigated the efficacy of epilepsy nurses on satisfaction with counseling about epilepsy in a randomized, controlled, prospective trial.

Methods:

Patients with epilepsy treated by neurologists in outpatient clinics were consecutively enrolled and randomly allocated to either the epilepsy nurse (EN) group (n = 92) or the control group (n = 95). Patients in the EN group were advised according to their needs by epilepsy nurses. The control group received routine care without additional counseling. The EN group completed the questionnaires before the first consultation (T1) and 6 months later (T2); the control group completed the questionnaires twice with an interval of 6 months. Primary outcome measure was satisfaction of patients with information and support. Secondary outcome measures were satisfaction with patient–doctor relationship, organization of treatment, epilepsy knowledge, coping, and restrictions in daily life. Anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) and global Quality of Life (item from QOLIE-31) were also assessed. Statistical analysis included generalized estimating equation (GEE) and nonparametric tests.

Results:

Satisfaction with information and support improved significantly in the EN group compared to the control group (GEE, interaction group × time, p = 0.001). In addition, Epilepsy Knowledge (p = 0.014) and Coping (subscale Information Seeking) (p = 0.023) improved. Increase in satisfaction with counseling was dependent on patients' needs for information and on the amount of received information (Jonckheere-Terpstra test, p < 0.001). No differences between the groups were observed on other epilepsy-specific scales.

Significance:

A reliable questionnaire for satisfaction with epilepsy care has been developed. Epilepsy nurses improve the satisfaction of patients with counseling and information about epilepsy and concomitant problems.

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