A community-based educational support programme for parents of children, aged three months to six years, with mild-to-moderate atopic eczema can reduce symptoms and sleep disturbance, according to Sheffield researchers.
Their programme included an educational DVD, diaries to record eczema symptoms and emollient use, and telephone support from dermatology nurses. The 12-week study, published online in BMC Dermatology, included 136 UK children.
Emollient use increased by £10-13 during the study but the cost of this was balanced out by an average reduction in GP visits of one per child.
“The current study demonstrates that a coherent multifaceted programme, delivered at a distance using a specialist dermatology nurse, may be a cost neutral use of NHS resources,” the authors said.
Julie Van Onselen, an independent dermatology nurse at the National Eczema Society, said: “Nurses are well placed to deliver eczema information and support parents and children with emollient use and eczema treatments.
“This is clearly demonstrated by the pivotal role the educational support programme nurses played in the positive outcomes of this study. It would be great to see community-based nurses lead more of these types of initiatives.”