The clinics will run in a similar fashion to those previously offered in a traditional out-patient setting and will be coordinated and managed by a nurse-led team. During these clinics the specialist nurse will be able to offer the following services as appropriate:
- Patient education and information.
- Clinical assessments of your joints.
- Monitoring of the safety and efficacy of your rheumatology drug treatments.
- Evidence-based treatments, including nurse prescribing and intra-articular joint injections.
- Review of your blood tests.
- Height, weight, body mass index (BMI) measurements, blood pressure and urine tests.
- Calculation of your risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) over the next 10 years using a validated tool. This takes into account several risk factors, for example, diagnosed medical condition(s), systolic blood pressure, smoking history and total cholesterol/HDL ratio and can be applied to those aged between 35-84 years of age. Those with a score of 20% or more are considered to be at a high risk of developing CHD.
- Assessment of your risk of having an osteoporosis-related fracture in the next 10 years. We use a tool that is validated to be used in untreated patients with risk factors, such as, previous fragility fracture, parent who had a hip fracture, alcohol intake and diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Referral for investigations, for example, x-ray or ultrasound scans.
- Referral to other appropriate services.
Following your clinic appointment, you may need to start new medication. You will usually be given a prescription which can be dispensed by any pharmacy, or you may be advised to consult your own doctor for this. You will generally only be issued with a small supply of medication and will need to obtain repeat prescriptions from your GP.
Sometimes conditions will not require further follow-up from the rheumatology team and if this is the case you will be discharged back to the care of your own GP. More often, a further appointment will be arranged.
Within 1-2 weeks following your appointment you should receive a copy of the letter which has been written to your GP. This will remind you of what has been discussed during your appointment and detail any changes to your treatment plan.