Moving the Injectable Methotrexate Service Closer to Home: A Practice Development Initiative

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Objective:The aim of this practice development project was to make it quicker and easier for patients to switch to subcutaneous (s/c) methotrexate and thereby introduce a nurse-led methotrexate clinic into a district general hospital, which would make the best use of the advanced knowledge and skills of the rheumatology specialist nurses; empower patients and improve their experience; and introduce cost savings for the Trust.Methods:Over a period of four months, meetings were held with pharmacists, clinicians, administrative and support staff to formulate a plan to introduce the changes and agree the benefits to patients. A detailed plan for the practice development project addressed the procedures to follow, the safety issues for patients and the revision of current documentation.Results:A review of service in the year before and after the change revealed that the number of rheumatoid arthritis patients who had switched to s/c methotrexate had increased by 80%. This was a significant difference (p = 0.049), which strongly suggested that the change in service was the reason for the increased number of patients who were able to switch their route of administration of methotrexate.Conclusion:This project demonstrated that not only do nurse specialists have the skills to make clinical decisions and judgements, prescribe medications and escalate therapies with no detriment to the patients, but also that this practice can lead to a more efficient and effective service, at a reduced cost to the Trust. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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