Nurse management of intractable functional constipation: a randomised controlled trial.
Burnett CA., Juszczak E., Sullivan PB.
AIMS: To evaluate the effectiveness of a nurse led clinic (NLC) compared with a consultant led paediatric gastroenterology clinic (PGC) in the management of chronic constipation. METHODS: Children (age 1-15 years) with functional constipation were randomised following a detailed medical assessment to follow up in either the NLC or PGC. An escalating algorithm of treatment was used as the basis of management in both the NLC and PGC. Main outcome measures were: time to cure at last visit or later confirmed by telephone; time to cure at last visit; and time to prematurely leaving the study. RESULTS: A total of 102 children were recruited, of whom 52 were randomly assigned to NLC and 50 to PGC. Outcome assessment showed that 34 children in the NLC and 25 children in the PGC were confirmed cured at their last visit or later confirmed by telephone. The median time to cure was 18.0 months in the NLC and 23.2 months in the PGC. The probability of being cured was estimated as 33% higher in the NLC compared to PGC (hazard ratio 1.33). Attending the NLC hastened time to cure by an estimated 18.4%. CONCLUSION: Children who attend an NLC are equally as, if not more likely to be cured of intractable constipation, than those attending a PGC and on average their cure will occur sooner. Results suggest that an NLC can significantly improve follow up for children with intractable constipation and highlight the important role for clinic nurse specialists in management of children with gastrointestinal disease.