Background Tuberculosis (TB) requires prolonged antibiotic therapy with medications, which can cause a wide range of side effects. Despite this, it is essential that patients adhere to their treatment regimes to ensure treatment success and also to reduce the risk of transmission and of drug resistant TB developing. There is little in the literature regarding the patient’s perspective of managing the substantial medication burden of TB treatment. However, to focus patient-centred care from local TB services and to direct future management of these patients, assessment of their perspective and quality of life is imperative.
Aim To assess patients who had completed anti-TB treatment over a 10-month period as to their perspective regarding the TB service and treatment in a district general hospital.
Methods All patients who had completed anti-tuberculosis treatment over a 10-month period were provided with an anonymous questionnaire. The data from these was collated and analysed.
Results 35 patients out of 64 patients completing TB treatment over a 10-month period returned the patient questionnaire. Of these patients 51% were female with an average age of 34 years. All the patients were aware how to contact the TB team and 94% of patients received an information leaflet which they had read. 49% of patients suffered side effects; the most common being pruritis (23%), rash (17%), nausea (17%), joint aches (14%) and stomach upsets (11%).
86% of the patients felt that the support from the TB nurses did make a difference to their care. Overall patients found the ease of taking medications as follows: 40% very easy, 26% easy, 14% hard, 6% very hard, 11% neither easy or hard, 3% not answered.
Conclusion This study demonstrated that nearly half of the patients suffered from side effects whilst taking their treatment, impacting on their quality of life. Furthermore, a large proportion of patients (20%) had difficulty taking their medications. However, patients do find that the TB service and the involvement of the TB specialist nurses have a positive impact on their care.