Is sharing the TARGET respiratory tract infection leaflet feasible in routine general practice to improve patient education and appropriate antibiotic use? A mixed methods study in England with patients and healthcare professionals

Charlotte V. Eley*, Donna Lecky, Catherine V. Hayes, Cliodna McNulty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Patient education on treatment choices for common respiratory tract infections (RTIs) is important to encourage appropriate antibiotic use. Evidence shows that use of leaflets about RTIs can help reduce antibiotic prescribing. TARGET leaflets facilitate patient–clinician communication in consultations. Aim: To explore patient, healthcare professional (HCP) and general practice (GP) staff views on the current Treating Your Infection (TYI)-RTI leaflet and proposed new ‘antibiotic effect’ column aimed at sharing information on the limited effect antibiotics have on the duration of RTIs. Methods: Service evaluation underpinned by Com-B behavioural framework, using patient and HCP questionnaires, and GP staff interviews/focus groups. Results: Patients completed 83 questionnaires in GP waiting rooms. A lack of patient understanding about usual illness duration influenced their use of antibiotics for some RTIs. Patients provided positive feedback about the leaflet, reporting it increased their capability to self-care, re-consult when necessary and increase understanding of illness duration. Patients indicated they would value information on the difference antibiotics can make to illness duration. In total, 43 HCP questionnaires were completed and 16 GP staff participated in interviews/focus groups. Emerging themes included: barriers and facilitators to leaflet use; modifications; and future dissemination of the leaflet. GP staff stated that the ‘antibiotic effect’ column should not be included in the leaflet. Conclusion: Patient education around usual illness duration, side effects of antibiotics and back-up prescriptions gives patients a greater control of their infection management. As GP staff opposed the extra information about benefits of antibiotics on illness duration, this will not be added.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-107
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Infection Prevention
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank staff in the Public Health England, Primary Care Unit for support and comments on the project. Particular thanks to Julie Brooke for her administration support. Many thanks to the healthcare professionals, practices and general practice staff who took part in this research. This work was supported by Public Health England.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

Keywords

  • Antibiotics
  • patient behaviour
  • patient education
  • respiratory tract infection
  • self-care

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