Background: Inflammatory bowel diseases usually have an unpredictable course, often with sudden exacerbations. It is therefore of vital importance that patients should have rapid access to medical services to enable early intervention when necessary. Nowadays, many centers have a dedicated IBD nurse to ensure easy communication with patients. The aim of the study was to evaluate association of use of IBD nurse with disease parameters and adherence to treatment.
Methods: IBD patients from Meir Medical Center, serving a population of 600,000 people in Israel were recruited for this analysis. All participants filled questionnaires which included demographic, clinical and socioeconomic data and accessibility to GI services, as well as use of IBD nurse services. Severity of disease was calculated according to the GETAID system, and adherence was estimated by the Morisky score.
Results: Questionnaires were answered by 93 patients. Mean age was 41±15, 50 females, mean disease duration 13 months (range 1–192), 68 (73%) had Crohn's disease, 47 (50.5%) of patients used IBD nurse frequently and 46 (49.5%) rarely. Good adherence was reported in 33/47 (70%) patients using IBD nurse services and in 28/46 (61%) of patients not using IBD nurse services. However, using IBD nurse services was not associated with good adherence (p=0.34). Interestingly, use of IBD nurse services was significantly more common among patients with a higher severity disease score (77%, p=0.028).
Conclusions: The service of IBD nurse is more important in severely ill patients. Larger cohort studies are needed to evaluate the impact of IBD nurse on adherence.