Editorials

Patient information sheets in emergency care

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b35 (Published 18 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b35
  1. Melvyn Jones, senior lecturer and general practitioner1,
  2. David Mountain, associate professor2
  1. 1Department of Primary Care and Population Health, UCL Medical School, London N19 5LW and Warden Lodge, Cheshunt EN8 8NW
  2. 2University of Western Australia and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Emergency Department, Nedlands, Perth 6009, WA, Australia
  1. m.jones{at}pcps.ucl.ac.uk

    Can improve measures of mental health outcomes, but clinical benefits are unknown

    In the linked study (doi:10.1136/bmj.b541), Arnold and colleagues assess whether giving an information sheet to patients with acute chest pain reduces anxiety, improves health related quality of life, improves satisfaction with care, or alters subsequent symptoms or actions. Their randomised controlled trial compared verbal advice with advice plus written information sheets in 700 patients presenting to the accident and emergency department with acute chest pain, initially thought to be of cardiac origin, who were discharged after acute coronary syndrome was ruled out.1

    The study found that people receiving information sheets had significantly lower scores for anxiety and depression and higher scores for mental and general health perception at 30 days. The intervention had no significant effect on satisfaction or subsequent symptoms, which although frequent were of low intensity. Importantly, the intervention did not affect lifestyle changes, information seeking, or planned actions in the event of …

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