Advice Lines

  • Lydia White


A fundamental aspect in the management of unpredictable, remitting and relapsing disease should be to assist patients to lead independent lives, to go to school, work, have families and much more. Appropriate advice and access to care is key to this goal, and achieving it is considered part of best practice in IBD services (O’Connor et al. J Crohns Colitis 7:744–764, 2013; IBD Standards Group 2013; Younge and Norton. Br J Nurs 16:208–212, 2007; van der Eijk et al. Eur J Intern Med 15:113–120, 2004). IBD nurses are key, consistent members of the multidisciplinary team and well placed (Kemp et al. J Crohns Colitis 7:e386–e395, 2013; Nightingale et al. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 12:967–973, 2000). The patient perspective, most importantly, views the nurse as ‘always there’ and so is highly valued for direct expertise and timely access to further care when needed (Belling et al. 2008 and Woods et al. 2006).

For many centres it is the ‘Advice Line’ or ‘Help Line’ that best utilises the advantage of the IBD nursing post and enables the link between the patient and specialist care when needed, facilitating the need for access often recommended (Pearson. Gastroenterology 7:15–19, 2005; Torjesen. Br Med J 344:e2675, 2012; Carter et al. Gut 53:V1–V6, 2004). The literature cited ranges from consensus opinion to audit and questionnaire, and it has been suggested that individual centre studies in particular lack the design, methodology and detail to support adequate statistical analysis (Hernandez-Sampelayo et al. J Crohns Colitis 4:611–622, 2010). However the body of literature continues to grow and Advice Lines have become a basic expectation for IBD services. This chapter offers a practical approach with recognition of safety and quality issues:
  • The safety of remote assessment

  • Setting up an Advice Line (with protocol excerpts)

  • Nursing assessment of IBD

  • The Advice Line for:
    • General advice and support

    • Investigation and treatments

  • Documentation

  • Monitoring quality via audit and survey


Advice line Help line Telephone advice Telemedicine 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lydia White
    • 1
  1. 1.Gastroenterology MedicineRotorua HospitalRotoruaNew Zealand

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