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Guide launched to 'empower' nurses treating complex TB patients

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A new guide has been launched to help nurses better support patients struggling with life-limiting side effects such as hearing loss and fatigue from treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis.

More than 200 nurses caring for such patients in 11 different countries tested the recommendations and reported “very favourable feedback, confirming its broad applicability worldwide”.

“Having a resource available to them empowers the nurse to be able to help his/her patient”

Ann Raftery

Their comments were used to inform the final content and format of the resource – titled the Nursing guide for managing side effects to drug-resistant TB treatment (see also PDF attached below).

The guide, created by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and Curry International Tuberculosis Center, was designed as a response to nurses’ requests for better resources in this area.

Leaders behind the project said side effects experiencing by patients on treatment for drug-resistant TB may impact on their quality of life, capacity to work and ability to continue activities in daily living.

Recent studies had also identified medication side effects as a major factor for patients stopping treatment, they noted.

A report published this year by the World Health Organization revealed that only 55% of patients with drug-resistant TB successfully completed treatment.

“It helps them to identify potential side effects and provides suggestions for nursing assessments and interventions”

Carrie Tudor

The guide is designed to be used so nurses can quickly identify when a patient is suffering from a side effect and intervene appropriately to minimise the patient’s discomfort, reduce side effect progression and ultimately ensure the patient completes treatment.

Ann Raftery, nurse co-ordinator at Curry International Tuberculosis Center, highlighted that curing TB “takes a long time”.

“Nurses commonly see [drug-resistant TB] patients daily for a period of many months for monitoring and treatment therefore are often the first to hear of a patient’s side effects during treatment,” she said. “Having a resource available to them empowers the nurse to be able to help his/her patient.”

Dr Carrie Tudor, director of the ICN’s TB/MDR-TB project, described the guide as a practical resource for nurses in inpatient, clinic and community settings who are caring for patients with drug-resistant TB.

She added: “It helps them to identify potential side effects and provides suggestions for nursing assessments and interventions to minimise the effects of side effects to treatment.”

The guide was launched this week at The Union’s 49th World Conference on Lung Health in The Hague in The Netherlands. It is also being made available in Russian, Chinese, Bahasa Indonesia and Spanish.

ICN’s TB/MDR-TB project aims to support the WHO’s strategy to end TB by training experienced nurses to cascade information to nursing colleagues and other health workers with the purpose of making improvements to patient care delivery

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