Our Tuberculosis (TB) Specialist Nurses provide expert advice and support in the management and control of TB.
They are responsible for assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating highly specialist care and treatment regimens for patients requiring TB treatment.
- Support patients and their families undergoing TB treatment.
- Contact (screening) family and friends and other contacts who are identified as being at risk following exposure to TB.
- Support fellow healthcare professionals to achieve a prompt diagnosis and avoid delay in any required treatment.
- Support the education of health care staff and the general public about TB.
- Identify and assist in TB outbreaks, working closely with Public Health England.
- Visit patients in their own homes to check compliance and to monitor side effects of medication.
- Offer advice on any aspect associated with TB and its treatment.
The team also promote quality, evidence-based care, which is seen as best practice and develop our TB nursing service to meet the patients’ local needs.
They also establish mechanisms by which each patient has a coherent and comprehensive management plan.
The plan is developed with the patient and takes account of their wishes and needs, making adjustments as necessary, observing the principles of holistic care, monitoring compliance and outcomes to improve quality of life, prognosis and to reduce recurrence of TB and drug resistance.
Many patients find the treatment course difficult to begin with because they have to take numerous tablets, some of which are very large and have various side-effects.
The TB nurse specialist can help to manage side-effects or drug formulations, take routine blood samples or occasionally arrange admission to hospital.
They can also make home visits as they are the best way of making a holistic assessment of a patient’s needs and progress. Many of our patients have accommodation or immigration issues, which are often their main priority.
The team also promotes programmes of health education and health promotion and involves patients with TB, suspected TB and their contacts appropriately in decision-making in order to protect the public health of Bradford.
Occasionally patients do not take their tablets despite extra support. Supervised treatment or directly-observed therapy (DOT) must be given because of the risk to the wider population. This involves a nurse visiting the patient at home three times a week to observe the patient taking medication.
TB nurse specialists can ensure that patients are given the correct medication and can provide support for patients and their relatives or carers to prevent lapses in treatment.