Botulinum toxin for people with dystonia treated by an outreach nurse practitioner: A comparative study between a home and a clinic treatment service

John Whitaker, Anthony Butler, Joanna K. Semlyen, Michael P. Barnes

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To study whether a trained outreach nurse practitioner could provide a service that is as good as, or better than, that provided at a hospital outpatient clinic for people who had been diagnosed with dystonia and required treatment with botulinum toxin. Design: Randomized trial. Setting: An outpatient department of a regional neurorehabilitation center and patients' homes in northern England. Patients: Eighty-nine patients with a clinical diagnosis of spasmodic torticollis, blepharospasm, or hemifacial spasm who had ongoing treatment of dystonia with botulinum injections. Interventions: Individuals were randomly allocated either to receive ongoing botulinum injections at home by the nurse practitioner or to continue attending the hospital outpatient clinic and be injected by medical staff. Main Outcome Measures: The following measures were recorded at each visit: demographic descriptors, dosage of botulinum toxin, treatment interval, side-effect profile, external referrals, and a questionnaire to determine qualitative opinion. Results: Efficacy and duration of the botulinum was similar in both groups. Botulinum dosage and side-effect profiles were similar in both groups except for significantly less dysphagia (p < .018) in the home group (7 vs 24 occasions). Subjective opinion by the patients indicated statistically significant preference for home injections. Economic analysis indicated that the overall cost of the treatment was less in the home injection group (total cost per visit $36.90 [£23.36] vs $79.00 [£50.01]), but this difference was not statistically significant. Conclusion: A trained outreach nurse practitioner provided a service that was as good as, and in certain aspects better than, that provided by a hospital outpatient clinic. The nurse practitioner provided a more flexible, much appreciated, safe, and cost-effective service for this client group. Wider use of outreach nurse practitioners for dystonia should be encouraged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-484
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2001


  • Botulinum toxin type A
  • Cost control
  • Dystonic disorders
  • Home care services
  • Hospital outpatient clinics
  • Rehabilitation

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