Mixed-methods evaluation of a nurse-led allergy clinic model in primary care: Feasibility trial

Vicky Hammersley, Margaret Kelman, Lynn Morrice, Marilyn Kendall, Mome Mukerjhee, Susan Harley, Jurgen Schwarze, Aziz Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

INTRODUCTION: It is now widely acknowledged that there are serious shortcomings in allergy care provision for patients seen in primary care. We sought to assess the feasibility of delivering and evaluating a new nurse-led allergy service in primary care, measured by recruitment, retention and estimates of the potential impact of the intervention on disease-specific quality of life.

METHODS: Mixed-methods evaluation of a nurse-led primary care-based allergy clinic in Edinburgh, UK undertaken during the period 2017-2021 with a focus on suspected food allergy and atopic eczema in young children, allergic rhinitis in children and young people, and suspected anaphylaxis in adults. Prior to March 2020, patients were seen face-to-face (Phase 1). Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, recruitment was halted between March-August 2020, and a remote clinic was restarted in September 2020 (Phase 2). Disease-specific quality of life was measured at baseline and 6-12 weeks post intervention using validated instruments. Quantitative data were descriptively analysed. We undertook interviews with 16 carers/patients and nine healthcare professionals, which were thematically analysed.

RESULTS: During Phase 1, 426/506 (84%) referred patients met the eligibility criteria; 40/46 (87%) of Phase 2 referrals were eligible. Males and females were recruited in approximately equal numbers. The majority (83%) of referrals were for possible food allergy or anaphylaxis. Complete data were available for 338/426 (79%) patients seen in Phase 1 and 30/40 (75%) in Phase 2. Compared with baseline assessments, there were improvements in disease-specific quality of life for most categories of patients. Patients/carers and healthcare professionals reported high levels of satisfaction, this being reinforced by the qualitative interviews in which convenience and speed of access to expert opinion, the quality of the consultation, and patient/care empowerment were particularly emphasised.

CONCLUSION: This large feasibility trial has demonstrated that it is possible to recruit, deliver and retain individuals into a nurse-led allergy clinic with both face-to-face and remote consultations. Our data indicate that the intervention was considered acceptable to patients/carers and healthcare professionals. The before-after data of disease-specific quality of life suggest that the intervention may prove effective, but this now needs to be confirmed through a formal randomised controlled trial.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov reference NCT03826953.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12180
Pages (from-to)e12180
JournalClinical and translational allergy
Volume12
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • allergy
  • primary care
  • quality of life

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