Interesting study just published - one of the best for the year:
FOOTSTEP: a randomized controlled trial investigating the clinical and cost effectiveness of a patient self-management program for basic foot care in the elderly
Robin Waxman, Helen Woodburn, Melanie Powell, Jim Woodburn, Susan Blackburn and Philip Helliwell,
Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
Volume 56, Issue 11 , November 2003, Pages 1092-1099
Background and Objectives
Podiatry (chiropody) services are one of the most frequently requested services in primary care. The elderly are given priority access to podiatry services in the UK blocking access for other priority groups. To evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a self-management program as a means of managing nonurgent demands for podiatry services by the elderly without compromising foot-related disability.
Randomized clinical trial with blinded 6-month follow-up and economic evaluation. People aged 60+ seeking self-initiated or primary referred podiatric consultation were screened. Five hundred ninety-nine were excluded on the basis of health status, and 259 refused to participate or did not attend initially. Seventy-eight were randomized to receive a self-management program, and 75 usual care. The main outcome measure was foot disability, as measured by the Manchester Foot Disability Questionnaire.
At 6 months, self-management program participants had lower foot disability scores than the usual care group (difference between scores -1, 95% C.I. -2, 0), and returned for fewer treatments within the 6-month study period (39 vs. 92 treatments). The cost per patient for the self-management program (£10.92) was found to be the same as for usual care (£10.71), but this included the cost of nail care packs.
In this group a self-care program for routine foot care did not compromise therapeutic outcomes, and may be more cost effective in the long term. Further work is required to extend self-management programs to other target groups, such as people with diabetes at low risk for foot problems.
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