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Summary

Background

The systematic support of parents of children with eczema is essential in effective disease management. The few existing support models have a limited evidence base. This paper reports the outcome-orientated service evaluation of an original, extensive, social learning-theory based, nurse-led Eczema Education Programme (EEP).

Objectives

To evaluate the EEP using specified child and parental outcomes and service impact data.

Methods

From a sample of 257 parent–child dyads attending the EEP, a pretest–post-test design evaluated its child impact using health-related quality of life measures (Infants' Dermatitis Quality of Life index, which includes a small dermatitis severity element, and Children's Dermatology Life Quality Index), severity measures (Patient Orientated Eczema Measure), a new parental measure (Parental Self-Efficacy in Eczema Care Index) and service impact data based on general practitioner (GP) attendance patterns pre- and postintervention.

Results

Statistically significant impacts were observed on infant quality of life (P < 0·001), child quality of life (P = 0·027), disease severity (P < 0·001) and parental self-efficacy (P < 0·001). Improvements in child quality of life, parental efficacy and service impact were also evident from qualitative data. The cumulative total of all GP visits for selected participants post-EEP reduced by 62%.

Conclusions

The EEP appears to be an effective model of delivering structured education to parents of children with eczema, and one generalizable to other multiethnic metropolitan populations. As a noncontrolled study, this rigorous service evaluation highlights the model's significance and the case for an evaluative multicentre randomized controlled trial of this educational intervention to inform a nurse-led programme of care.