Nursing Interventions for Hepatitis C Elderly Patients to Reduce the Side Effects of Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin and Improve their Quality of Life
Side effects from hepatitis C treatment can be uncomfortable, sometimes debilitating and rarely even life-threatening for elderly people. With the right planning and support, many of these side effects can be managed which will help in complying with the treatment and in turn improve the quality of life. Objective: To identify the effect of nursing intervention for hepatitis C elderly patients to reduce the side effects of pegylated interferon and ribavirin and improve their quality of life. Setting: The study was carried out at the outpatient clinics of the Specialized Medical Hospital, the General Mansoura Hospital, and the Egyptian Liver Hospital in Dakahlia. Subjects: The study comprised 66 elderly patients with HCV divided into two equal groups of 33 each. Tools: Data was collected using six tools: an interview schedule sheet to assess the socio-demographic and health profile of elders, the short form-36 health survey questionnaire, a checklist to identify medication side effects, fatigue severity scale, geriatric depression scale and nursing intervention program. Results: The main side effects from treatment as reported by the elderly were fatigue, insomnia, bone ache, heart burn, fever, itching and stomatitis respectively. Elderly patients in the study group showed significant improvement in their ratings of perceived fatigue at both 8 and 12 weeks post intervention, while fatigue level for those in the control group did not show any significant change in both evaluations. As well significance improvement in the quality of life post 12 week of intervention in study group was observed. Conclusion: It can be concluded that the side effects and quality of life mean scores improved significantly in the study group compared to control group after 8 and 12 weeks of nursing intervention. Recommendations: Caregivers of elders undergoing hepatitis C treatment should support, motivate and encourage elders to cope with side effects of the hepatitis C therapy.