British journal of community nursing | 1 Dec 2017
JC Buchan, V Cleveland, H Sutton and A Cassels-Brown
There are over 400 000 cataract operations now being performed annually in the UK. With the majority of those patients being older people, comorbidities such as dementia or arthritis can prevent patients putting in their own post-operative eye drops. Where there is a lack of family or other support, district nursing services are often called upon to administer these eye drops, which are typically prescribed four times a day for 4 weeks, thus potentially totalling 112 visits for drop instillation per patient. To reduce the burden of these post-operative eye drops on district nursing services, administration of an intra-operative sub-Tenon’s depot steroid injection is possible for cataract patients who then do not require any post-operative drop instillation. As a trial of this practice, 16 such patients were injected in one year, thus providing a reduction of 1792 in the number of visits requested. Taking an estimated cost of each district nurse visit of £38, this shift in practice potentially saved more than £68 000; the additional cost of the injection over the cost of eye drops was just £8.80 for the year. This practice presents an opportunity to protect valuable community nursing resources, but advocacy for change in practice would be needed with secondary care, or via commissioners.
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