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Authors

  1. Bjorkman, Ida PhD, RN
  2. Ringstrom, Gisela PhD, RN
  3. Simren, Magnus PhD, MD
  4. Myrgren, Jenny MSc, RN
  5. Jakobsson Ung, Eva PhD, RN

Abstract

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common and often chronic functional bowel disorder that can cause severe disruption of daily functioning in those affected, with subsequent high healthcare utilization and work absenteeism. Nurses represent an underutilized group in the current management of irritable bowel syndrome. The aim of this study was to systematically develop a person-centered support intervention in irritable bowel syndrome and evaluate this in a pilot study. The development followed the revised framework for complex interventions from the Medical Research Council and involved literature reviews and multiprofessional expert groups. The intervention was then tested in a pilot study including 17 patients and evaluated through validated questionnaires measuring irritable bowel syndrome symptom severity, gastrointestinal-specific anxiety, and self-efficacy as well as through interviews. There was a significant improvement in irritable bowel syndrome symptom severity between baseline and follow-up, but not for self-efficacy or gastrointestinal-specific anxiety. The patients' perceptions of participating in the intervention were positive and induced a learning process; they were able to form a supportive relationship with the nurse and their ability to self-manage improved. The promising results from this small pilot study in terms of feasibility, potential efficacy, and the patients' positive feedback make this intervention a suitable candidate for a larger controlled trial.