To assess self-management in patients receiving glucocorticoid replacement therapy for primary or secondary adrenal failure before and 6 months after a glucocorticoid education group meeting.
All patients with primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency, treated at the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, were invited by their endocrinologist to participate in a 3-h glucocorticoid education group meeting, consisting of a lecture about the disease and glucocorticoid doses adjustments in case of stress, followed by an instruction on how to inject hydrocortisone i.m. Finally, all participants could practise the i.m. injection and discuss their experience with (imminent) adrenal crises with other patients and the health care providers. Two weeks before the meeting and 6 months after the meeting, patients were asked to fill out a questionnaire about how they would act in six different conditions (e.g. febrile illness or vomiting).
Of the 405 patients who were invited, 246 patients (61%) participated. At baseline the response by the participants on the questionnaire was 100% (n=246) and at follow-up 74% (n=183). At follow-up, significantly more participants (P≤0.005) gave the correct answers to how to act in different situations (e.g. self-administration of a glucocorticoid injection and phone contact in case of vomiting/diarrhoea without fever). Moreover, the use of self-management tools, such as having a ‘medicine passport (travel document with information about disease and medication) (P=0.007) or SOS medallion (P=0.0007)’, increased.
A glucocorticoid education group meeting for patients with adrenal failure seems helpful to improve self-management and proper use of stress-related glucocorticoid dose adjustment.