Outreach services for cystic fibrosis (CF) patients in remote areas are as effective as the treatment and management centres in metropolitan areas, according to a study published in the latest Medical Journal of Australia.
Dr Clare Thomas - a paediatrician with the Paediatric Department at Nambour General Hospital in Queensland - and her co-authors, compared the outcomes of Queensland children with CF managed at a metropolitan tertiary CF centre (CFC) with those treated through the CF outreach service (CFOS) in remote areas.
Dr Thomas and her co-authors found no significant differences between children managed by CFC or by CFOS clinics. However, children managed at the CFC were more likely to have multiple hospital admissions.
"The CFOS model provides effective delivery of specialised multidisciplinary care to children and adolescents living in rural and regional Queensland," Dr Thomas says.
"Additional research addressing the influence of other services and alternative outcome measures are required, as well as studies of the cost effectiveness of the CFOS model of service delivery."
In 2001, there were 2,311 people in Australia with CF. Two thirds of these were children and adolescents.
It is recommended that children with CF have at least quarterly visits to a multidisciplinary team at a CFC. Outreach service clinics are generally run twice a year.
Local health workers in remote areas are invited to attend the CFOS clinics and children attending these clinics are also managed by their local paediatrician or GP.
The Medical Journal of Australia is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.